[rev-er-uh nd, rev-ruh nd]


(initial capital letter) (used as a title of respect applied or prefixed to the name of a member of the clergy or a religious order): Reverend Timothy Cranshaw; Reverend Mother.
worthy to be revered; entitled to reverence.
pertaining to or characteristic of the clergy.


Informal. a member of the clergy.

Origin of reverend

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin reverendus worthy of being revered, gerund of reverērī to revere1
Related formsrev·er·end·ship, noun
Can be confusedreverend reverent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for reverend

Contemporary Examples of reverend

Historical Examples of reverend

  • But every body else was there, so we did not miss these grave and reverend seigniors.

  • The Reverend Cecil had not the habit of shirking any duty because he happened to dislike it.

  • "I hope I shall have strength given me to do my duty," said the Reverend Cecil.

  • The Reverend Farouche, therefore, holds a secret conference with her father.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • It was his fellow-curate, the Reverend Golightly, who was still waiting to deliver his message.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for reverend



worthy of reverence
relating to or designating a clergyman or the clergy


informal a clergyman

Word Origin for reverend

C15: from Latin reverendus fit to be revered; see revere



a title of respect for a clergymanAbbreviations: Rev., Revd See also Very Reverend, Right Reverend, Most Reverend


Reverend with a surname alone (Reverend Smith), as a term of address (``Yes, Reverend''), or in the salutation of a letter (Dear Rev. Mr Smith) are all generally considered to be wrong usage. Preferred are (the) Reverend John Smith or Reverend Mr Smith and Dear Mr Smith
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 reverend

early 15c., "worthy of respect," from Middle French reverend, from Latin reverendus "(he who is) to be respected," gerundive of revereri (see reverence). As a form of address for clergymen, it is attested from late 15c.; earlier reverent (late 14c. in this sense). Abbreviation Rev. is attested from 1721, earlier Revd. (1690s). Very Reverend is used of deans, Right Reverend of bishops, Most Reverend of archbishops.


"clergyman," c.1500, from reverend (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper