ven·​er·​a·​ble ˈve-nər(-ə)-bəl How to pronounce venerable (audio)
: calling forth respect through age, character, and attainments
a venerable jazz musician
broadly : conveying an impression of aged goodness and benevolence
encouraged by the venerable doctor's head-nodding
: impressive by reason of age
under venerable pines
: deserving to be venerated
used as a title for an Anglican archdeacon or for a Roman Catholic who has been accorded the lowest of three degrees of recognition for sanctity
: made sacred especially by religious or historical association
venerability noun
venerableness noun
venerably adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for venerable

old, ancient, venerable, antique, antiquated, archaic, obsolete mean having come into existence or use in the more or less distant past.

old may apply to either actual or merely relative length of existence.

old houses
an old sweater of mine

ancient applies to occurrence, existence, or use in or survival from the distant past.

ancient accounts of dragons

venerable stresses the impressiveness and dignity of great age.

the family's venerable patriarch

antique applies to what has come down from a former or ancient time.

collected antique Chippendale furniture

antiquated implies being discredited or outmoded or otherwise inappropriate to the present time.

antiquated teaching methods

archaic implies having the character or characteristics of a much earlier time.

the play used archaic language to convey a sense of period

obsolete may apply to something regarded as no longer acceptable or useful even though it is still in existence.

a computer that makes earlier models obsolete

Example Sentences

[Julie] Powell never met Julia Child (who died last year), but the venerable chef's spirit is present throughout, and Powell imaginatively reconstructs episodes from Child's life in the 1940s. Her writing is feisty and unrestrained, especially as she details killing lobsters, tackling marrowbones and cooking late into the night. Publishers Weekly, 13 June 2005
Under her stewardship, the onetime boardinghouse came to be heralded as the South's most venerable family restaurant, a reliquary of old-fashioned cooking—collard greens enriched with fatback, creamed corn straight from the cob, fried chicken with a pepper-flecked crust—where the tables groaned beneath the weight of a quintessential midday repast, and history stood still on the plate for all to admire. John T. Edge, Gourmet, January 2003
The lower the P/E, as a rough rule of thumb, the cheaper the stock. Though this guide to value has lots of exceptions, it remains a venerable market benchmark. Jonathan Weil, Wall Street Journal, 21 Aug. 2001
I then descended to the Courts of justice, over which the judges, those venerable sages and interpreters of the law, presided, for determining the disputed rights and properties of men, as well as for the punishment of vice, and protection of innocence. Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, 1726
the venerable old man was a cherished source of advice and wisdom for the villagers a venerable tradition that colleges have been maintaining for centuries See More
Recent Examples on the Web Somewhere at venerable Colonial Country Club there should be a giant digital clock counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds. Mark Kazlowski, Dallas News, 12 May 2023 Halperin and Aswad relocated to Variety in 2017, relaunching the venerable entertainment news brand into music coverage after a nearly decade-long break. William Earl, Variety, 9 May 2023 The venerable movie studio takes a look back in this new docuseries. Los Angeles Times Staff, Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 2023 But then the wily and venerable Wainwright managed to shut the door, reaching deep into his bag of tricks to allow only a single run to score. Jamie Kitman, Car and Driver, 1 Apr. 2023 Ed Sheeran goes deep: New album will confront his 'darkest thoughts' The closing location makes sense for the venerable rockers, who burst out of New York City 50 years ago. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 1 Mar. 2023 Named in honor of the venerable performance space in Houston, the music series will feature and honor Solange’s predecessors and peers across genres, platforms, and generations. Vulture, 17 Feb. 2023 Since September of 2021, the maison and the venerable fabric store have been working together in search of more responsible ways of operating. Giorgia Feroldi, Vogue, 14 Dec. 2022 The Machine has been performing the music of Pink Floyd live since the late 1980s and has played such venerable Connecticut rock venues as the Oakdale, Ridgefield Playhouse and (as the headliner for the venue’s grand opening) College Street Music Hall. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 20 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'venerable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin venerābilis "entitled to respect," from venerārī "to solicit the good will of (a deity), hold in awe, venerate" + -bilis "capable of (acting or being acted upon)" — more at -able

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of venerable was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near venerable

Cite this Entry

“Venerable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


ven·​er·​a·​ble ˈven-ər(-ə)-bəl How to pronounce venerable (audio)
: deserving to be venerated
often used as a religious title
: deserving honor or respect
a venerable leader
: impressive by reason of age
venerable pines

More from Merriam-Webster on venerable

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