rev·er·ence | \ ˈrev-rən(t)s , ˈre-və- ; ˈre-vərn(t)s \

Definition of reverence 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : honor or respect felt or shown : deference especially : profound adoring awed respect

2 : a gesture of respect (such as a bow)

3 : the state of being revered

4 : one held in reverence used as a title for a clergyman


rev·er·ence | \ ˈrev-rən(t)s , ˈre-və- ; ˈre-vərn(t)s \
reverenced; reverencing

Definition of reverence (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to regard or treat with reverence

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Other words from reverence


reverencer noun

Synonyms for reverence

Synonyms: Verb

adore, deify, glorify, revere, venerate, worship

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Choose the Right Synonym for reverence


honor, homage, reverence, deference mean respect and esteem shown to another. honor may apply to the recognition of one's right to great respect or to any expression of such recognition. the nomination is an honor homage adds the implication of accompanying praise. paying homage to Shakespeare reverence implies profound respect mingled with love, devotion, or awe. great reverence for my father deference implies a yielding or submitting to another's judgment or preference out of respect or reverence. showed no deference to their elders


revere, reverence, venerate, worship, adore mean to honor and admire profoundly and respectfully. revere stresses deference and tenderness of feeling. a professor revered by her students reverence presupposes an intrinsic merit and inviolability in the one honored and a similar depth of feeling in the one honoring. reverenced the academy's code of honor venerate implies a holding as holy or sacrosanct because of character, association, or age. heroes still venerated worship implies homage usually expressed in words or ceremony. worships their memory adore implies love and stresses the notion of an individual and personal attachment. we adored our doctor

Examples of reverence in a Sentence


The national pickle dish, kimchi, is held in such reverence that Seoul boasts a museum devoted entirely to its 160 different varieties. The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, & Flavorings, 1992 Reverence for or worship of the dead is found in all societies, because belief in life after death is universal. World Religions, 1983 He took the command of this small party at once—the little girl and the little boy following him about with great reverence at such times as he condescended to sport with them. —William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, 1848 Her poems are treated with reverence by other poets. Their religion has a deep reverence for nature.


Only acquaintance with the great models of antiquity moves men to love and reverence the great authors of their own time … —John Clive, Not By Fact Alone, 1989 It is our most fundamental political document, reverenced by all, the supposed cement of our society, yet it is read by few and understood by fewer still. —David M. Kennedy, New York Times Book Review, 14 Sept. 1986 None of us like mediocrity, but we all reverence perfection. —Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad, 1880 devotees coming to reverence their god
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Helping fill in the gap are other folks, including a curator at the Victoria & Albert museum who treats some of Westwood's designs with a reverence bordering on awe. Kenneth Turan,, "Vivienne Westwood rules over the engaging documentary 'Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist'," 14 June 2018 In recent times, the memory of Perovskaya has fared less well, particularly amid a waxing reverence for the czarist past. Eva Sohlman, New York Times, "Overlooked No More: The Russian Icon Who Was Hanged for Killing a Czar," 30 May 2018 These clients, architects, and houses form a club, members of which share a reverence for Heron Bay (which is today owned by the industrialist Lord Anthony Bamford and his wife Carole). David Netto, Town & Country, "Is Heron Bay in Barbados the Most Exquisite House in the World?," 4 May 2018 When Marie talks about Lyle, there's a reverence in her tone. Salem Statesman Journal,, "Remains of Marine killed in WWII heading home to Oregon," 4 Apr. 2018 In the end, the boy leaves to return to his planet and rejoin his troublesome rose, leaving his new friend with heartfelt memories and a reverence for the way children see the world. Sam Spengler, Smithsonian, "The Beloved Classic Novel “The Little Prince” Turns 75 Years Old," 3 Apr. 2018 The orphanage's location outside Port-au-Prince and local reverence for the institution worked in favor of his team, which Lynch said was handling the situation calmly. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Haiti 'just completely blew up,' NC pastor says of stranded mission team," 9 July 2018 Powell tells Billboard about his reverence for Williams as well as excitement about adding to the canon of iconic Star Wars music. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "'Solo' Composer John Powell Talks Channeling Han & Working With John Williams," 24 May 2018 To make the film more cinematic, Wenders decided to draw parallels between Francis and his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, who was also known for his devotion to the poor and his reverence for nature. Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Pope Francis: A Man of His Word': Film Review | Cannes 2018," 13 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

A life cut short by unexpected catastrophe is reverenced. Christopher Knight,, "Jessie Homer French at Various Small Fires: In death, she finds life," 6 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reverence.' 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 reverence


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for reverence


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin reverentia, from reverent-, reverens "respectful, reverent" + -ia -ia entry 1


Middle English reverencen, derivative of reverence reverence

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Dictionary Entries near reverence







Reverend Mother

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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The first known use of reverence was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for reverence



English Language Learners Definition of reverence

: honor or respect that is felt for or shown to (someone or something)


rev·er·ence | \ ˈre-və-rəns , ˈrev-rəns \

Kids Definition of reverence

: honor and respect often mixed with love and awe

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Comments on reverence

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


the setting in which something occurs

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