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religion

[ri-lij-uh n] /rɪˈlɪdʒ ən/
noun
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.
3.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices:
a world council of religions.
4.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.:
to enter religion.
5.
the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6.
something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience:
to make a religion of fighting prejudice.
7.
religions, Archaic. religious rites:
painted priests performing religions deep into the night.
8.
Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion:
a religion to one's vow.
Idioms
9.
get religion, Informal.
  1. to acquire a deep conviction of the validity of religious beliefs and practices.
  2. to resolve to mend one's errant ways:
    The company got religion and stopped making dangerous products.
Origin
1150-1200
1150-1200; Middle English religioun (< Old French religion) < 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
Related forms
religionless, adjective
antireligion, adjective
nonreligion, noun
subreligion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for religion
  • This is just one of many borrowings from the indoeuropean religion into the nart sagas.
  • This subject is discussed in more detail in religion and capital punishment.
  • The privilege of a ruler to choose the religion of his subjects.
  • It has been my intention, for several years past, to publish my thoughts upon religion.
  • As with many such important concepts, the definition of religion is quite contentious.
  • At home, a rigorous discipline of religion and savings reigned supreme.
  • He published many books and preached numerous sermons relating to men and religion.
  • She had great influence over him especially in matters of religion.
  • His daughter married a local prince and further spread the religion.
  • Last projects he now contemplated a great work, a colossal statue of religion.
British Dictionary definitions for religion

religion

/rɪˈlɪdʒən/
noun
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
3.
the attitude and feeling of one who believes in a transcendent controlling power or powers
4.
(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
5.
something of overwhelming importance to a person: football is his religion
6.
(archaic)
  1. the practice of sacred ritual observances
  2. sacred rites and ceremonies
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for religion
n.

c.1200, "state of life bound by monastic vows," also "conduct indicating a belief in a divine power," from Anglo-French religiun (11c.), Old French religion "piety, devotion; religious community," and directly from Latin religionem (nominative religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods; conscientiousness, sense of right, moral obligation; fear of the gods; divine service, religious observance; a religion, a faith, a mode of worship, cult; sanctity, holiness," in Late Latin "monastic life" (5c.).

According to Cicero derived from relegere "go through again" (in reading or in thought), from re- "again" (see re-) + legere "read" (see lecture (n.)). However, popular etymology among the later ancients (Servius, Lactantius, Augustine) and the interpretation of many modern writers connects it with religare "to bind fast" (see rely), via notion of "place an obligation on," or "bond between humans and gods." In that case, the re- would be intensive. Another possible origin is religiens "careful," opposite of negligens. In English, meaning "particular system of faith" is recorded from c.1300; sense of "recognition of and allegiance in manner of life (perceived as justly due) to a higher, unseen power or powers" is from 1530s.

To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. [Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, 1885]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for religion

religion

Related Terms

get religion


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with religion

religion

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for religion

For figures on Adherents of All Religions by Continent, see Table I; for Adherents in the U.S., see Table II

Learn more about religion with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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9
12
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