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[ri-spekt-fuh l] /rɪˈspɛkt fəl/
full of, characterized by, or showing politeness or deference:
a respectful reply.
Origin of respectful
1590-1600; respect + -ful
Related forms
respectfully, adverb
respectfulness, noun
quasi-respectful, adjective
quasi-respectfully, adverb
unrespectful, adjective
unrespectfully, adverb
unrespectfulness, noun
courteous, polite, decorous, civil, deferential.
discourteous, disrespectful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for respectful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "He is on duty at the great entrance," was the respectful answer.

    Sarchedon G. J. (George John) Whyte-Melville
  • To the others it seemed that his mind walked with Those Above, and they were respectful of him.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • Randolph listened in respectful silence, but entirely unconvinced.

    Trevethlan: (Vol 2 of 3) William Davy Watson
  • He wished to see Hinde coming to him in a respectful manner!

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • The wild little creatures ran to their fathers, and saluted them in the respectful manner that Arab children are taught to do.

    Far Off Favell Lee Mortimer
British Dictionary definitions for respectful


full of, showing, or giving respect
Derived Forms
respectfully, adverb
respectfulness, noun
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 respectful

1580s, "characterized by respect" (implied in respectfully), from respect (n.) + -ful. Meaning "full of outward civility" attested from 1680s. Related: Respectfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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