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[ri-spekt-fuh l] /rɪˈspɛkt fəl/
full of, characterized by, or showing politeness or deference:
a respectful reply.
Origin of respectful
First recorded in 1590-1600; respect + -ful
Related forms
respectfully, adverb
respectfulness, noun
quasi-respectful, adjective
quasi-respectfully, adverb
unrespectful, adjective
unrespectfully, adverb
unrespectfulness, noun
courteous, polite, decorous, civil, deferential.
discourteous, disrespectful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for respectful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To the others it seemed that his mind walked with Those Above, and they were respectful of him.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • He wished to see Hinde coming to him in a respectful manner!

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • On the whole, they were easily managed, and were respectful and obedient.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • She tells a simple story, in a candid and respectful manner.

  • My most respectful acknowledgements to her for it, and for her very kind admonitions.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
British Dictionary definitions for respectful


full of, showing, or giving respect
Derived Forms
respectfully, adverb
respectfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for respectful

1580s, "characterized by respect" (implied in respectfully), from respect (n.) + -ful. Meaning "full of outward civility" attested from 1680s. Related: Respectfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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