|1.||(esp of a person) worthy of reverence on account of great age, religious associations, character, position, etc|
|2.||(of inanimate objects) hallowed or impressive on account of historical or religious association|
|3.||ancient: venerable tomes|
|4.||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|
|5.||Church of England a title given to an archdeacon|
|[C15: from Latin venerābilis, from venerārī to venerate]|
title or respectful form of address, used from very early times in Europe, especially for certain clergy or for laymen of marked spiritual merit. St. Augustine in some epistles cited the term in reference to bishops, and Philip I of France was styled venerabilis and venerandus ("reverential"). The venerable by which Saint Bede is commonly known ("the Venerable Bede," or "Bede the Venerable") survives from a contemporary practice of so addressing bishops and abbots and, posthumously, worthy clerics such as Bede.
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