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

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Antonyms for respectful

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for respectfulness

politeness, graciousness, courtesy, etiquette, formality, respect, respectfulness

Examples from the Web for respectfulness

Historical Examples of respectfulness

  • 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.

  • She has commended the softness and respectfulness of my behaviour.

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

    Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange

British Dictionary definitions for respectfulness


  1. full of, showing, or giving respect
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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 respectfulness



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper