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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for respectfulness
Historical Examples
  • What an air of decency and respectfulness about the servants!

    Olla Podrida Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)
  • If it does not pay, it brings him fame, respectfulness in times of reverse.

  • Then she observed that he was following her attentively, with his respectfulness.

  • His conduct after this to us was marked with every indication of respectfulness and attachment.

    Gleanings by the Way John A. Clark
  • She has commended the softness and respectfulness of my behaviour.

    History of English Humour, Vol. 1 (of 2)

    Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange
  • Nikolay Vsyevolodovitch's respectfulness to his mother was enlarged upon.

    The Possessed Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The rigidity of her position was the more striking owing to the respectfulness and the affection with which it was accompanied.

    Queen Victoria Lytton Strachey
  • You will have no fault to find with her respectfulness towards you and Herrania or with her behavior as a wife.

    The Unwilling Vestal Edward Lucas White
  • He was the born nobleman in his friendliness with the bridal pair and respectfulness to Mr. Woodseer.

  • Nor did I seek to know the reason for this excess of respectfulness; I was beginning to take to it naturally.

British Dictionary definitions for respectfulness


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 respectfulness



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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