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re·​li·​gious ri-ˈli-jəs How to pronounce religious (audio)
: relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity
a religious person
religious attitudes
: of, relating to, or devoted to religious beliefs or observances
joined a religious order
: scrupulously and conscientiously faithful
religiously adverb
religiousness noun


2 of 2


plural religious
: a member of a religious order under monastic vows

Example Sentences

Adjective My religious beliefs forbid the drinking of alcohol. Religious leaders called for an end to the violence. His wife is very active in the church, but he's not religious himself.
Recent Examples on the Web
Thirty years after the standoff between federal agents and a small religious group, the Branch Davidians, just outside Waco, Tex., Guinn recaptures the drama of the 51-day siege for contemporary readers. Washington Post Staff, Washington Post, 1 Feb. 2023 Twenty-three people, ranging from environmental advocates to religious leaders, submitted testimony voicing opinions about the bill ahead of Tuesday’s work session, in addition to the two dozen who gave in-person and virtual testimony. Lia Russell, Baltimore Sun, 31 Jan. 2023 The National Prayer Breakfast, one of the most visible and long-standing events that brings religion and politics together in Washington, is splitting from the private religious group that had overseen it for decades, due to concern ... Gary Fields, ajc, 29 Jan. 2023 The speakers will include two Newton religious leaders: the Rev. Devlin Scott of the NewCity Church and the Rev. Alicia Johnson of the Myrtle First Baptist Church. John Hilliard,, 24 Jan. 2023 From the start of the pandemic, conspiracy theories about Covid have been rife in Malawi, some of them spread by religious leaders. John Eligon Joao Silva, New York Times, 22 Jan. 2023 The man in the white leisure suit and owlish glasses appeared at my desk, seeking a newspaper article about his religious group. Dallas News, 19 Jan. 2023 In October, Kishida ordered an investigation into the church amid a growing scandal tying his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to the controversial religious group that has seen a number of ministers resign. Junko Ogura, CNN, 13 Jan. 2023 In 2021, the National Academies gathered a group of scientists, ethicists, and religious leaders to discuss the ethical concerns with human brain organoids. Monique Brouillette, Popular Mechanics, 13 Jan. 2023
As a young religious, Bishop-elect Lombardo did missionary work in Bolivia and Honduras. Laura Rodríguez Presa,, 11 Sep. 2020 See More

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

Word History



Middle English, from Anglo-French religius, from Latin religiosus, from religio


Middle English, from Anglo-French religius, from religius, adjective

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of religious was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near religious

Cite this Entry

“Religious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
re·​li·​gious ri-ˈlij-əs How to pronounce religious (audio)
: devoted to God or to the powers or forces believed to govern life
a very religious person
: of or relating to religion
religious beliefs
: very devoted and faithful
performed his duties with religious regularity
religiously adverb
religiousness noun


2 of 2 noun
plural religious
: a member of a religious order

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