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.).