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

If your mom is looking for a bit of peace and quiet on her special day, consider gifting her 50 white roses, which represent reverence and silence, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Lyndsey Matthews, Country Living, "Costco Is Selling 50 Roses for Less Than $50 for Mother’s Day," 30 Apr. 2018 Like Rocky, Ferg has long showed a reverence for all corners of the hip-hop universe, from Biggie to UGK and Bone Thugs. Dan Hyman,, "ASAP Ferg has taken everything — rap music, fashion, hype — by storm," 12 July 2018 The royal family is treated with almost divine reverence in Thailand. Time, "Thailand’s Leader Promised to Restore Democracy. Instead He's Tightening His Grip," 21 June 2018 Seven balls juggled commands respect; eight or more a level of admiration approaching reverence. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "The Physics—and Physicality—of Extreme Juggling," 17 May 2018 Much of conservatism’s maternal reverence is informed by religion; perhaps no faith elevates motherhood more than Roman Catholicism with its exaltation of Mary, the mother of Christ. Ashley E. Mcguire, Washington Post, "How conservatives are poised to actually make paid family leave a reality," 13 May 2018 Perhaps Johnson’s reverence for the franchise comes across best in this documentary’s most human scenes. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "At its best, new Last Jedi making-of film is a touching tribute to old Star Wars," 13 Mar. 2018 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

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

13 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for reverence

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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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