full of, characterized by, or showing politeness or deference: a respectful reply.

Origin of respectful

First recorded in 1590–1600; respect + -ful
Related formsre·spect·ful·ly, adverbre·spect·ful·ness, nounqua·si-re·spect·ful, adjectivequa·si-re·spect·ful·ly, adverbun·re·spect·ful, adjectiveun·re·spect·ful·ly, adverbun·re·spect·ful·ness, noun

Synonyms for respectful

Antonyms for respectful Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for respectful

Contemporary Examples of respectful

Historical Examples of respectful

  • 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 Formsrespectfully, adverbrespectfulness, 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

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