re·​spect·​ful | \ ri-ˈspekt-fəl How to pronounce respectful (audio) \

Definition of respectful

: marked by or showing respect or deference

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Other Words from respectful

respectfully \ ri-​ˈspekt-​fə-​lē How to pronounce respectfully (audio) \ adverb
respectfulness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for respectful


deferent, deferential, dutiful, regardful


disrespectful, undutiful

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Examples of respectful in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

My hope, Martha, is that tomorrow's hearing will be respectful, and fair, and appropriate. Fox News, "Coons: Kavanaugh hearing should be paused for investigation," 27 Sep. 2018 The tone was respectful and our representatives will talk,’ López Obrador wrote on Twitter. Rachel Van Dongen, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Trump's trade war is getting very real," 3 July 2018 The proud mom said Jaela is respectful and wonderful. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fueled by a passion for nursing that started with her Barbies, she fought through teen pregnancy on her way to getting degree," 26 June 2018 Freeman McNeal said young neighbor, Alexandrea Thompson, was respectful and a leader. Cameron Knight,, "Woman indicted killing of 9-year-old Alexandrea 'Sissy' Thompson," 21 June 2018 June 8, 2018 Some recognized Bourdain for his ability to turn the spotlight on different cultures around the world while being respectful and receptive. Dakin Andone, CNN, "The world reacts to the death of chef and storyteller Anthony Bourdain," 8 June 2018 Everyone is respectful of each other's boundaries.... Mehera Bonner, Marie Claire, "The 20 Most Graphic and Gorgeous Sex Scenes on TV," 16 Nov. 2018 Any firing or resignation spells immediate uncertainty for an investigation that Rosenstein oversees and would place that responsibility in the hands of a replacement who Democrats fear would be less respectful of Mueller’s independence and mandate. Zeke Miller, The Seattle Times, "Rosenstein’s job to be topic of Thursday meeting with Trump," 25 Sep. 2018 Bring your laptop to a local café — remember, though, be respectful of the owners and other patrons. Rhonda Abrams, USA TODAY, "Seven tricks for home office success," 11 July 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.

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First Known Use of respectful

1593, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for respectful

Last Updated

31 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for respectful

The first known use of respectful was in 1593

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More Definitions for respectful



English Language Learners Definition of respectful

: showing or having respect


re·​spect·​ful | \ ri-ˈspekt-fəl How to pronounce respectful (audio) \

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.

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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 affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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