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rev·​er·​ence ˈrev-rən(t)s How to pronounce reverence (audio)
: honor or respect felt or shown : deference
especially : profound adoring awed respect
: a gesture of respect (such as a bow)
: the state of being revered
: one held in reverence
used as a title for a clergyman


2 of 2


rev·​er·​ence ˈrev-rən(t)s How to pronounce reverence (audio)
reverenced; reverencing

transitive verb

: to regard or treat with reverence
reverencer noun
Choose the Right Synonym for reverence


honor, homage, reverence, deference mean respect and esteem shown to another.

honor may apply to the recognition of one's right to great respect or to any expression of such recognition.

the nomination is an honor

homage adds the implication of accompanying praise.

paying homage to Shakespeare

reverence implies profound respect mingled with love, devotion, or awe.

great reverence for my father

deference implies a yielding or submitting to another's judgment or preference out of respect or reverence.

showed no deference to their elders


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

Noun The national pickle dish, kimchi, is held in such reverence that Seoul boasts a museum devoted entirely to its 160 different varieties. The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices, & Flavorings, 1992 Reverence for or worship of the dead is found in all societies, because belief in life after death is universal. World Religions, 1983 He took the command of this small party at once—the little girl and the little boy following him about with great reverence at such times as he condescended to sport with them. William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, 1848 Her poems are treated with reverence by other poets. Their religion has a deep reverence for nature. Verb Only acquaintance with the great models of antiquity moves men to love and reverence the great authors of their own time … John Clive, Not By Fact Alone, 1989 It is our most fundamental political document, reverenced by all, the supposed cement of our society, yet it is read by few and understood by fewer still. David M. Kennedy, New York Times Book Review, 14 Sept. 1986 None of us like mediocrity, but we all reverence perfection. Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad, 1880 devotees coming to reverence their god See More
Recent Examples on the Web
There is a humility and reverence that comes when standing at the foot of these ancient giants. San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Jan. 2023 As space exploration has found new reverence, so has sci-fi itself. Eric Adelson, Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2023 Across the internet, critics, celebrity chefs, and fans have expressed a mixture of sadness and reverence, along with a healthy dose of skepticism. Sam Stone, Bon Appétit, 9 Jan. 2023 In some parts of the country, reverence for the sport can allow for a permissive attitude toward tackle football for young children, says Joel Fields of Biloxi, Mississippi, who founded the Gulf Coast Sharks Youth Football Club in 2021. Jocelyn Noveck, ajc, 5 Jan. 2023 Like Charlene, Caroline wore a traditional black mantilla veil on her hair as a sign of reverence in church. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 4 Jan. 2023 Some tried to quiet the shouts, pleading that the night was about reverence for the people who died. Paighten Harkins, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Dec. 2022 In Brooklyn, the group has become inseparable from the striking mansion, which today inspires reverence despite heartache over its current state of disrepair. Dodai Stewart, New York Times, 20 Dec. 2022 Evidence supporting the above claim concerns reverence within the economics profession for 2% annual inflation. John Tamny, Forbes, 18 Dec. 2022
Her work is marked by a deep attentiveness to and reverence for the natural world. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Aug. 2022 At the time they were made, Scandinavian societies were moving from Sun worship to reverence for gods associated with animals. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Jan. 2022 A life cut short by unexpected catastrophe is reverenced. Christopher Knight,, 6 May 2017 See More

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

Word History



Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin reverentia, from reverent-, reverens "respectful, reverent" + -ia -ia entry 1


Middle English reverencen, derivative of reverence reverence

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of reverence was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near reverence

Cite this Entry

“Reverence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
rev·​er·​ence ˈrev-(ə-)rən(t)s How to pronounce reverence (audio)
: honor or respect felt or shown : deference
: the state of being revered or honored


2 of 2 verb
reverenced; reverencing
: to think of or treat with reverence

More from Merriam-Webster on reverence

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