[ ri-lij-uhn ]
See synonyms for religion on
  1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

  2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion;the Buddhist religion.

  1. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

  2. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.

  3. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

  4. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.

  5. religions, Archaic. religious rites: painted priests performing religions deep into the night.

  6. Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one's vow.

Idioms about religion

  1. get religion, Informal.

    • to acquire a deep conviction of the validity of religious beliefs and practices.

    • to resolve to mend one's errant ways: The company got religion and stopped making dangerous products.

Origin of religion

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English religioun, from Old French religion or directly from Latin religiōn- (stem of religiō “conscientiousness, piety,” equivalent to relig(āre) “to tie, fasten” (re- re- + ligāre “to bind, tie”; cf. ligament) + -iōn- -ion; cf. rely

Other words from religion

  • re·li·gion·less, adjective
  • an·ti·re·li·gion, adjective
  • non·re·li·gion, noun
  • sub·re·li·gion, noun

Words Nearby religion Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use religion in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for religion


/ (rɪˈlɪdʒən) /

  1. belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny

  2. any formal or institutionalized expression of such belief: the Christian religion

  1. the attitude and feeling of one who believes in a transcendent controlling power or powers

  2. mainly RC Church the way of life determined by the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience entered upon by monks, friars, and nuns: to enter religion

  3. something of overwhelming importance to a person: football is his religion

  4. archaic

    • the practice of sacred ritual observances

    • sacred rites and ceremonies

Origin of religion

C12: via Old French from Latin religiō fear of the supernatural, piety, probably from religāre to tie up, from re- + ligāre to bind

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with religion


see get religion.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.