ven·​er·​ate ˈve-nə-ˌrāt How to pronounce venerate (audio)
venerated; venerating

transitive verb

: to regard with reverential respect or with admiring deference
: to honor (an icon, a relic, etc.) with a ritual act of devotion
venerator noun

Did you know?

Venerate comes from the Latin root venerārī, which has the various meanings of "to solicit the good will of," "to worship," "to pay homage to," and "to hold in awe."  That root is related to Venus, which, as a proper noun, is the name of the Roman goddess of love and beauty.

Choose the Right Synonym for venerate

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 venerate in a Sentence

a writer venerated by generations of admirers She is venerated as a saint.
Recent Examples on the Web Once killed out of fear of the evil eye, they’re now venerated. Aatish Taseer, New York Times, 12 Feb. 2024 She was so deeply invested in exalting and venerating the mundane dimensions of Black folks’ lives. Essence, 19 Jan. 2024 Conservatives venerate the building of wealth and political power but see themselves as persecuted by intellectuals and bureaucrats. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 22 Jan. 2024 Davis’s sister was murdered in 2021, and Davis is among those who venerate their late family members in front of a baobab tree that has become their ancestral tree. Chika Oduah, Essence, 16 Nov. 2023 The 1927 Yankees are venerated as the greatest team of all-time, yet the Bronx Bombers’ average attendance that season was just 15,117. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 22 Dec. 2023 At the Church of the Nativity, the ancient limestone basilica venerated by Christians as marking the place of Christ’s birth, hard times have helped dampen tensions between the three Christian sects that share control of its premises. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 19 Dec. 2023 Nevertheless, for women artists, motherhood — venerated in theory, belittled in practice — is still seen, by others and often themselves, as an obstacle, if not the end. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, 1 Dec. 2023 There is no alcohol, venerated Greek of noble voice, that compares to the clear humidities in your big eyes in exile, in your fresh faked tears, in your foreign belly that fumes under the rain. Guillermo Manning, The New York Review of Books, 30 Nov. 2023 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from Latin venerātus, past participle of Latin venerārī "to solicit the good will of (a deity), worship, pay homage to, hold in awe," verbal derivative of vener-, venus "sexual desire, qualities exciting desire, charm, (as proper noun) goddess personifying sexual attractiveness" (probably originally in cognate accusative phrase Venerem venerārī "to propitiate Venus," extended to other deities) — more at venus

First Known Use

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of venerate was circa 1623


Dictionary Entries Near venerate

Cite this Entry

“Venerate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ven·​er·​ate ˈven-ə-ˌrāt How to pronounce venerate (audio)
venerated; venerating
: to show deep respect for
venerated their ancestors

More from Merriam-Webster on venerate

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