re·​spect·​ful | \ri-ˈspekt-fəl \

Definition of respectful 

: marked by or showing respect or deference

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from respectful

respectfully \ ri-​ˈspekt-​fə-​lē \ adverb
respectfulness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for respectful


deferent, deferential, dutiful, regardful


disrespectful, undutiful

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of respectful in a Sentence

the children were remarkably respectful while in the president's office

Recent Examples on the Web

Martin invites those of differing perspectives to explore opportunities for increasing understanding through respectful dialogue. Lawrence Specker,, "Spring Hill College backs speaker, despite controversy," 30 Apr. 2018 To change people's minds, even by just a degree or two, required communication that was respectful but honest. The Washington Post,, "'Resist White Supremacy': A sign, a farm, and the fury that followed," 19 Feb. 2018 In fact, in the eyes of many Mexicans, Mexico has been too respectful. Time, "Mexico's New President AMLO and Donald Trump Have Promised Mutual 'Respect.' How Long Can That Last?," 3 July 2018 Dobi will be best in a home with older children who can be gentle and respectful when handling him. Peggy Calhoun, idahostatesman, "Ada County Pet of the Week: Dobi," 2 July 2018 Teens should use these respectful salutations when asking for a letter of recommendation, when thanking someone for an interview, or when communicating with a professor, teacher or adviser. Jennifer Winward, Anchorage Daily News, "Five old-school skills that kids should learn from their grandparents instead of YouTube," 26 June 2018 The imagery is raw and not always flattering, but Heath is always sympathetic and respectful. Jeremy Hallock, star-telegram, "Black and white photography master Dave Heath brings 'Solitude' to the Amon Carter," 20 June 2018 Though promising, the survey shows that there is still far more work to be done to educate men and women on what healthy and respectful (personal/professional) relationships should look like. Britni Danielle,, "This Survey Reveals What Men Really Think About #MeToo," 4 June 2018 This would be a nod to Meghan’s American heritage, which would be very respectful of you. Lisa Ryan, The Cut, "How to Host the Ultimate Royal Wedding Viewing Party," 9 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of respectful

1593, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about respectful

Share respectful

Statistics for respectful

Last Updated

27 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for respectful

The first known use of respectful was in 1593

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for respectful



English Language Learners Definition of respectful

: showing or having respect


re·​spect·​ful | \ri-ˈspekt-fəl \

Kids Definition of respectful

: showing high regard or courtesy a respectful manner

Other Words from respectful

respectfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb We kept respectfully silent during the ceremony.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on respectful

What made you want to look up respectful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!