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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

Examples of worship in a Sentence

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
Recent Examples on the Web
What sets off Zara’s downward spiral is her job resignation, and the spontaneous romance that sparks between Chris and Brooke — the former, a lonely man worshipped but not understood by millions, the latter, jadedly single since the death of Zara’s dad more than a decade ago. Tomris Laffly, Variety, 27 June 2024 What kind of place boasts Buddhists who worship at the temple of an Egyptian goddess? Jo Marchant, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 June 2024
After the Civil War, Black people began to separate themselves from white control, especially through houses of worship. Desiree Mathurin, Charlotte Observer, 15 July 2024 Policeman turned preacher Reportedly born Narayan Sakar to a low-caste family, Bhole Baba used to be a constable with the Uttar Pradesh Police before becoming a preacher and establishing an ashram – or place of worship – in the state. Rhea Mogul, CNN, 12 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for worship 

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 18 Jul. 2024.

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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