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wor·​ship ˈwər-shəp How to pronounce worship (audio)
 also  ˈwȯr-
worshipped also worshiped; worshipping also worshiping

transitive verb

: to honor or show reverence for as a divine being or supernatural power
: to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion
a celebrity worshipped by her fans

intransitive verb

: to perform or take part in worship or an act of worship
worshipper noun
or less commonly worshiper


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: reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power
also : an act of expressing such reverence
: a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual
: extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem
worship of the dollar
chiefly British : a person of importance
used as a title for various officials (such as magistrates and some mayors)
Choose the Right Synonym for worship

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

Example Sentences

Verb Many ancient cultures worshipped the sun and moon. They worship at this temple. I worship God in my own way. Noun worship of gods and goddesses Worship services are held daily. the media's worship of celebrities See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The basic movement resembles the Ivorian dance mapouka, which women used as a form of celebration and to worship. Emily Mesner, Anchorage Daily News, 25 Feb. 2023 Sikhs often celebrate Vaisakhi by visiting their local gurdwara to worship, meditate and partake in langar, a free community meal prepared and served at all gurdwaras by volunteers, Singh said. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, 13 Apr. 2023 Ramadan is a time for hard work (fasting isn’t easy!), worship, and prayer. Manal Aman, Woman's Day Magazine, 8 Apr. 2023 Ramadan is a time to fast, worship, gather with your community and recharge spiritually. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, 21 Mar. 2023 Tradition has it that the mountains are gods, ancestral deities that the Salalis, as locals are known, worship. Yashraj Sharma, WIRED, 1 Mar. 2023 Stores are closed on Sundays, forgoing revenue to give employees time to worship. Forbes Wealth Team, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2023 This country can and should be a great place to live, worship, raise a family, and enjoy the trappings of the good life. Rich Logis, The New Republic, 4 Nov. 2022 Crossing paths with someone who doesn’t look like you, trust you, worship the same God or understand your story is almost inevitable. Tyrone Beason, Los Angeles Times, 3 Apr. 2023
During the summer of 2007 the economy began to falter, and after the financial collapse, the following September, Americans' attitude toward the one percent went from worship to rage. Jessica Pressler, Town & Country, 17 May 2023 Built in 1901, the church had been purchased by the Emmanuel Christian Center, which was converting the old building into a worship space and youth center. Alex Chun, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 May 2023 Research shows that Americans, who have become less engaged with worship houses, community organizations and even their own family members in recent decades, have steadily reported an increase in feelings of loneliness. CBS News, 2 May 2023 Internally, General Stewart sought to strengthen workplace culture by creating a DIA Museum and establishing fitness and worship centers at the agency’s headquarters, part of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Southeast Washington. Harrison Smith, BostonGlobe.com, 2 May 2023 Parishioners raise their hands during a worship service at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, moments before pastor Robert Morris provided the congregation with a list of school board candidates to pray for. Mike Hixenbaugh, NBC News, 2 May 2023 As Indigenous people were being executed for devil worship in South and Central America, witch trials arrived in the North American colonies. Silvia Federici, Scientific American, 17 Apr. 2023 His character faces serious life mental health issues and life challenges, and is apprehensive about returning to a place of worship. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, 13 Apr. 2023 Mosques have long been places not only of worship but also assembly. Raja Abdulrahim, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'worship.' 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 worþschipen, worschepen, worshippen "to hold in honor, esteem, show respect for, revere (a deity), conduct religious rites," derivative of wurðscip, worschip "honor, esteem, religious faith, rank, value" — more at worship entry 2


Middle English wurðscip, worschip "honor, esteem, renown, veneration, religious faith, a person's social standing, rank, value," going back to Old English weorþscipe, wurþscipe "honor, esteem, veneration, dignity," from weorþ, wyrþ, as noun "value" and as adjective "valuable, having status, deserving" + -scipe -ship — more at worth entry 1, worth entry 3

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of worship was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near worship

Cite this Entry

“Worship.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worship. Accessed 3 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
wor·​ship ˈwər-shəp How to pronounce worship (audio)
chiefly British : an important person
used as a title for some officials
: great respect toward a divine being or supernatural power
: the outward showing of such respect
: too great admiration or devotion
worship of money


2 of 2 verb
worshipped also worshiped; worshipping also worshiping
: to honor or respect as a divine being or supernatural power
: to treat with too great respect, honor, or devotion : idolize
worshipped popular singers
: to perform or take part in worship
worshipper noun
or worshiper


Middle English worshipe "worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being," from Old English weorthscipe "worthiness, respect," from weorth "worth, worthy" and -scipe "-ship (quality, condition)"

More from Merriam-Webster on worship

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