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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


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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

Examples of reverence in a Sentence

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Many veterans have long supported the GOP because of its reverence for military service and support for the armed forces. Mike Kabatt, Baltimore Sun, 3 July 2024 Because he was obsessed with horses, however, he was sought by wealthy equine lovers because of his meticulous attention to detail and reverence for animals. James Russell, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 28 June 2024
Saint Heron remains dedicated to empowering future art practitioners by reverencing the spiritual act of creating and spotlighting artists’ unwavering devotion to the intergenerational language of expression. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 16 June 2023 The four core Franciscan values are: showing compassion, making peace, creating a caring community, and reverencing all of creation. Journal Sentinel, 10 Apr. 2023 See all Example Sentences for reverence 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reverence.' 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, 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 13 Jul. 2024.

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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