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[pahy-uh s] /ˈpaɪ əs/
having or showing a dutiful spirit of reverence for God or an earnest wish to fulfill religious obligations.
characterized by a hypocritical concern with virtue or religious devotion; sanctimonious.
practiced or used in the name of real or pretended religious motives, or for some ostensibly good object; falsely earnest or sincere:
a pious deception.
of or relating to religious devotion; sacred rather than secular:
pious literature.
having or showing appropriate respect or regard for parents or others.
Origin of pious
1595-1605; < Latin pius, akin to piāre to propitiate
Related forms
piously, adverb
piousness, noun
prepious, adjective
prepiously, adverb
pseudopious, adjective
pseudopiously, adverb
quasi-pious, adjective
quasi-piously, adverb
semipious, adjective
semipiously, adverb
semipiousness, noun
superpious, adjective
superpiously, adverb
superpiousness, noun
unpious, adjective
unpiously, adverb
1. devout, godly, reverent. See religious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for piously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You know how all men speak well and piously, and act otherwise, as advantage or frailty prompts.

  • The first room, Madame Goujet's, was piously preserved in the state she had left it.

    L'Assommoir Emile Zola
  • The wafer was piously administered in communion to a child who died in three days.

  • "Well, she seems to feel what she says," Mrs. Rooth piously risked.

    The Tragic Muse Henry James
  • Four cobblers of Warwick piously bore the headless corpse within their town.

  • Meekly craving their blessing, for so had they been piously taught.

    Man of Uz, and Other Poems Lydia Howard Sigourney
  • He entered at the head of a band of priests, piously counting his rosary.

    The Three Lieutenants W.H.G. Kingston
  • It seemed to her that the candles had been piously lighted for some death watch.

    A Royal Prisoner Pierre Souvestre
  • But today my chicks were all piously engaged with their little souls, I the only wanderer at heart.

    Dear Enemy Jean Webster
British Dictionary definitions for piously


having or expressing reverence for a god or gods; religious; devout
marked by reverence
marked by false reverence; sanctimonious
sacred; not secular
(archaic) having or expressing devotion for one's parents or others
Derived Forms
piously, adverb
piousness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin pius, related to piāre to expiate
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 piously



mid-15c., from Latin pius "dutiful, devout, conscientious, religious; faithful to kindred; inspired by friendship, prompted by natural affections," perhaps [Klein] related to Latin purus "pure, clean" (see pure). Often coupled with fraud (n.) from at least 1630s. Related: Piously; piousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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