re·​li·​gion | \ ri-ˈli-jən How to pronounce religion (audio) \

Definition of religion

1 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
2a(1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural
(2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2b : the state of a religious a nun in her 20th year of religion
3 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
4 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness

Other Words from religion

religionless \ ri-​ˈli-​jən-​ləs How to pronounce religion (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for religion


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Examples of religion in a Sentence

Many people turn to religion for comfort in a time of crisis. There are many religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Shinto is a religion that is unique to Japan. Hockey is a religion in Canada. Politics are a religion to him. Where I live, high school football is religion. Food is religion in this house. See More
Recent Examples on the Web These include race experts, deconstructing historians, despoilers of religion, and ravagers of culture. Peter Wood, National Review, 12 May 2022 For decades, the Supreme Court has recognized that keeping schools neutral on issues of religion actually protects the religious freedom of everyone. David Saperstein And Teresa Jefferson-snorton, WSJ, 11 May 2022 The school argued allowing such prayer would constitute its unconstitutional endorsement of religion, with a coercive effect on players who participated and a stigmatizing effect on those who did not. Dan Eaton, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 May 2022 Others highlight family life of those who were enslaved, the role of religion and the notable personalities of the 200-year-long slavery era. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 The court gave a mostly sympathetic hearing Monday to a former high school football coach whose prayers on the field may open the door for broader expression of religion in public schools, Savage writes. Noah Biermanstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2022 Transforming the law of religion under the Constitution is a key objective for conservatives. Jeffrey Toobin, CNN, 25 Apr. 2022 José Casanova, a sociologist of religion at Georgetown, with Ukrainian family ties, sets out the modern religious history of the country in a recent essay. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, 21 Apr. 2022 Meriwether contended that the university's action violated his First Amendment right to free speech and free exercise of religion and sued in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus. Megan Henry, USA TODAY, 19 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'religion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of religion

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

History and Etymology for religion

Middle English religioun, from Anglo-French religiun, Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back — more at rely

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Time Traveler for religion

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The first known use of religion was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near religion

religio loci



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Statistics for religion

Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Religion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for religion


re·​li·​gion | \ ri-ˈli-jən How to pronounce religion (audio) \

Kids Definition of religion

1 : the belief in and worship of God or gods
2 : a system of religious beliefs and practices

More from Merriam-Webster on religion

Nglish: Translation of religion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of religion for Arabic Speakers


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