rev·​er·​ence | \ ˈrev-rən(t)s How to pronounce reverence (audio) , 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 How to pronounce reverence (audio) , 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

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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

Noun 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. Verb 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 Popes, even more so than heads of state, are protected by the reverence and the gilded world around them. Washington Post, "What Oscar-hopeful 'The Two Popes' misses about Francis and Benedict's relationship," 27 Dec. 2019 Tomlin, 47, and McDermott, 45, have remained very close with Laycock and speak about him with deep reverence. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "William & Mary coach, teammates heap praise on Steelers' Mike Tomlin, Bills' Sean McDermott ahead of Sunday matchup," 11 Dec. 2019 Children of all ages scamper around, waving national flags bigger than they are, while women cover their heads with the flag in a sign of reverence. Washington Post, "India’s first-time protesters: Mothers and grandmothers stage weeks-long sit-in against citizenship law," 13 Jan. 2020 Nothing suggests that the reverence most feel for the Dalai Lama has diminished. The Economist, "The subdued fringe China’s successful repression in Tibet provides a model for Xinjiang," 11 Dec. 2019 The Patriots are always an attention-to-detail team, but this past week both the reverence for the opponent and the focus were ratcheted up a notch for this AFC title game rematch., "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 7 Dec. 2019 Jewish community of Prague chairman Frantisek Banyai told CTK that such stones would be ritually returned to a place of reverence, adding that the community welcomed the city’s decision and hopes such cooperation will continue. Fox News, "Jewish gravestones used as cobblestones in Prague to be returned to Old Jewish Cemetery," 19 Nov. 2019 This arrest was not the first for Tom, who had already been arrested for blasphemy (showing contempt or lack of reverence for God), stealing hay, and hitting a woman. David Buie,, "Carroll Yesteryears: County Halloween traditions evolved from Pennsylvania German culture," 26 Oct. 2019 And their frame of reference was, and is, one of reverence. Marcela Davison Aviles, The Mercury News, "Opinion: Oil drilling in the Bay Area? Trump administration can’t be serious," 5 Sep. 2019 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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Time Traveler for reverence

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for reverence

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reverence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for reverence


How to pronounce reverence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of reverence

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


rev·​er·​ence | \ ˈre-və-rəns How to pronounce reverence (audio) , ˈrev-rəns \

Kids Definition of reverence

: honor and respect often mixed with love and awe

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