The Meaning of Reverence: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever wondered about the definition of reverence? This article will provide you with all of the info you need on the word reverence, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word reverence mean?

According to Merriam-Webster and other sources like Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word reverence is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, the word reverence means honor or respect that is felt or shown, or some gesture of respect. As a verb, the word reverence refers to the act of showing someone respect or honor. A reverent mental attitude will show itself as an attitude of profound respect or a feeling of profound awe. Reverence is two syllables – rev-er-ence, and the pronunciation of reverence is ˈrɛvərəns.

Biblically, the term reverence usually is used in a sacred context for those who fear God or a holy being. This fear of God is shown through submission and is celebrated. Hence, the term reverend is used for members of the Christian clergy. The reverend character and upright magistrate show a feeling of profound respect for God, and exhibits these manifestations of reverence by devoting their lives to the church. This word is in the Old Testament and New Testament in Psalms as the translation of two Hebrew words, yare and shachah.

Many languages around the word also contain words that mean reverence. You may notice that some of these words and phrases look similar to the word reverence. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. Cognates are when two words in different languages look and sound similar, and also have the same meaning. This list of translations of reverence is provided by Word Sense

  •  Finnish: kunnioitus‎; jumalanpelko‎ (fear of God)
  •  Irish: urramacht‎ (fem.), urraim‎ (fem.), oirmhidin‎ (fem.)
  •  Cyrillic: страхопоштовање‎ (neut.)
  •  Portuguese: deferência‎ (fem.), reverência‎
  •  Catalan: reverència‎ (fem.)
  •  Dutch: verering‎, respect‎, eerbied‎
  •  Telugu: ఆరాధన‎ (aaraadhana)
  •  Tagalog: pakundangan‎
  •  Japanese: 崇敬‎ (sūkei)
  •  Malayalam: ആരാധന‎
  •  French: révérence‎
  •  Russian: почита́ние‎ (neut.), благогове́ние‎ (neut.)
  •  Roman: strahopoštovanje‎ (neut.)
  •  Swedish: vördnad‎
  •  German: Ehrfurcht‎ (fem.), Bewunderung‎ (fem.), Verehrung‎ (fem.), Hochachtung‎ (fem.)

What is the origin of the word reverence?

According to Etymonline, the word reverence has been used since late c13 Middle English and comes from the Old French reverence meaning respect or awe. This comes from the Latin reverentia, and Latin reveri, from the intensive prefix re and the root vereri. These are from the Proto-Indo-European roots wer-r. Reverence has been used as a verb since late c14. One can add the suffixes t, ed, ing, ly and ial to form the related words revere, reverenced, reverencing, reverent, reverentially (adv.)and reverential (adj.)

How can the word reverence be used in a sentence?

The word reverence can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to remember their definitions and add them to your vocabulary. You can also try making quizzes or flashcards for yourself to test your knowledge of different English words. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are a few examples of reverence to get you started. 

You see different forms of reverence all over the world, from the Chinese reverence for their elders which they might show with a bow to how the French treat food, with a gentle reverence and great appreciation.

He showed great reverence and dignity when being knighted by the king. He kept his head bowed and never made eye contact as a token of respect. 

In her dread, she stood in awe of a tyrant before her. Her terror prompted reverence.

She showed reverence for their nonbinary identity by using the pronouns they/them, as they asked her to. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of reverence?

There are many different words that have the same meaning as the word reverence. These are called synonyms, which can be used interchangeably with the word reverence. Learning synonyms is a great way to improve your English vocabulary. You can also use synonyms to add variety to your writing. This list of synonyms of reverence is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  love
  •  appreciation
  •  respect
  •  deference
  •  esteem
  •  idolization
  •  exaltation
  •  glory
  •  magnify
  •  idolatry
  •  laud
  •  revere
  •  hallow
  •  adoration
  •  admire
  •  high regard
  •  venerate
  •  obeisance
  •  honour
  •  awe
  •  acclaim
  •  pay homage to
  •  adulation
  •  cherish
  •  approbation
  •  curtsy
  •  admiration
  •  deify
  •  fealty
  •  regard
  •  worship
  •  glorify
  •  exalt
  •  holiness
  •  glorification
  •  adore
  •  veneration
  •  homage
  •  honor
  •  adulate
  •  look up to
  •  fear
  •  idolize
  •  put on a pedestal
  •  emotion
  •  affection
  •  genius
  •  devoutness
  •  praise
  •  piety
  •  devotion
  •  extol
  •  great respect

There are also many different words that have the opposite meaning as reverence. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another easy way to expand your vocabulary. These antonyms of reverence are also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  contempt
  •  cold-heartedness
  •  bad manners
  •  disgust
  •  cattiness
  •  callousness
  •  sacrilege
  •  disparage
  •  bellicosity
  •  offend
  •  bad behavior
  •  disregard
  •  flippancy
  •  beastliness
  •  disdain
  •  belligerent behavior
  •  despise
  •  aggressiveness
  •  blanket of indifference
  •  blasphemy
  •  disrespect
  •  bad side
  •  bitchiness
  •  assault
  •  aggressive behavior
  •  shame
  •  desecration
  •  attack
  •  assclownery
  •  chew ass
  •  public shame
  •  apatheism
  •  dishonor
  •  irreverence
  •  hit below the belt
  •  cock a snook
  •  making fun of
  •  violence
  •  belligerence
  •  antagonistic behavior
  •  antagonism
  •  scorn
  •  deal with it
  •  aggression
  •  brutality
  •  hit one below the belt
  •  insult
  •  belittle
  •  blessing
  •  slight

Overall, the word reverence means an attitude of deep respect. The outward manifestation of this feeling of respect may prevent itself in an act of obeisance, meek dispositions, kind form of address, a feeling of profound awe, devoted veneration, or some other gesture indicative of deep respect  or an attitude of profound respect. 


  1. reverences: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. reverence | Origin and meaning of reverence | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  3. Reverence synonyms – 1 160 Words and Phrases for Reverence | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Reverence antonyms – 313 Opposites of Reverence | Power Thesaurus 
  5. Reverence | Definition of Reverence | Merriam-Webster