re·​li·​gion | \ ri-ˈli-jən How to pronounce religion (audio) \

Definition of religion

1a : the state of a religious a nun in her 20th year of religion
b(1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural
(2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

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Other Words from religion

religionless \ ri-​ˈli-​jən-​ləs How to pronounce religionless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for religion


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Examples of religion in a Sentence

Many people turn to religion for comfort in a time of crisis. There are many religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Shinto is a religion that is unique to Japan. Hockey is a religion in Canada. Politics are a religion to him. Where I live, high school football is religion. Food is religion in this house.
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Recent Examples on the Web But for me, Rock and Roll being my religion, my God just left the Earth. Anika Reed, USA TODAY, "Steven Van Zandt remembers Little Richard in touching tribute: exclusive," 13 May 2020 For believers, whatever their religion, faith is a catalyst in times of crisis. Keith Bierygolick,, "‘You don’t have supernatural protection’: A pastor and his job-hunt during the coronavirus pandemic," 5 May 2020 Many survival stories speak of the survivor’s devotion to their religion, or to a higher power that motivated them and gave them hope. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "9 Tips for Keeping Your Head in a Survival Situation," 5 May 2020 But most importantly, this water played a vital role in our religion and culture. Debra Utacia Krol, azcentral, "Trump nuclear energy plan could reopen areas near the Grand canyon to uranium mining," 24 Apr. 2020 Social distancing and stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic have meant many Dallas-area faith groups have to abandon their usual rituals: the services that allow them to come together to practice their religion. David Tarrant, Dallas News, "How Dallas religious leaders are keeping the faith despite coronavirus-induced social distancing," 10 Apr. 2020 Members of the Orthodox church celebrate Easter, but 13 days later than other Christians since their religion is based on the Julian calendar. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 9 Apr. 2020 But, because of the First Amendment, which protects people's right to assemble to practice their religion, the county did not prohibit them from gathering. Author: Mary Ellen Klas, Anchorage Daily News, "Florida governor exempts worshiping from rules; many religious leaders say, ‘Stay home’," 5 Apr. 2020 But staying home doesn't mean there aren't ways to practice your religion and stay in touch with your church community. Kelsey Hurwitz, Woman's Day, "Should I Go to Church During Coronavirus?," 18 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'religion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of religion

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for religion

Middle English religioun, from Anglo-French religiun, Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back — more at rely

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Time Traveler for religion

Time Traveler

The first known use of religion was in the 13th century

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Statistics for religion

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Religion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for religion


How to pronounce religion (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of religion

: the belief in a god or in a group of gods
: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
informal : an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group


re·​li·​gion | \ ri-ˈli-jən How to pronounce religion (audio) \

Kids Definition of religion

1 : the belief in and worship of God or gods
2 : a system of religious beliefs and practices

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