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[ven-er-uh-buh l] /ˈvɛn ər ə bəl/
commanding respect because of great age or impressive dignity; worthy of veneration or reverence, as because of high office or noble character:
a venerable member of Congress.
a title for someone proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church to have attained the first degree of sanctity or of an Anglican archdeacon.
(of places, buildings, etc.) hallowed by religious, historic, or other lofty associations:
the venerable halls of the abbey.
impressive or interesting because of age, antique appearance, etc.:
a venerable oak tree.
extremely old or obsolete; ancient:
a venerable automobile.
a venerable person.
Origin of venerable
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin venerābilis, equivalent to venerā(rī) to venerate + -bilis -ble
Related forms
venerability, venerableness, noun
venerably, adverb
quasi-venerable, adjective
quasi-venerably, adverb
unvenerability, noun
unvenerable, adjective
unvenerableness, noun
unvenerably, adverb
Can be confused
venerable, vulnerable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for venerable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The venerable Persian gazed at her for an instant, and then clasped her to his bosom.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • It is a venerable chestnut, and known as "the father of the forest."

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • It was sacrilege to think of changing such old, venerable things.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • venerable's not a nice word to use about anything except a cathedral.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • How have some of these venerable women gone about doing good!

British Dictionary definitions for venerable


(esp of a person) worthy of reverence on account of great age, religious associations, character, position, etc
(of inanimate objects) hallowed or impressive on account of historical or religious association
ancient: venerable tomes
(RC Church) a title bestowed on a deceased person when the first stage of his canonization has been accomplished and his holiness has been recognized in a decree of the official Church
(Church of England) a title given to an archdeacon
Derived Forms
venerability, venerableness, noun
venerably, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin venerābilis, from venerārī to venerate
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 venerable

early 15c., from Latin venerabilis, from venerari "to worship, revere" (see veneration). As a title, used in reference to ecclesiastics or those who had obtained the first degree of canonization.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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