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[rev-er-uh nd, rev-ruh nd] /ˈrɛv ər ənd, ˈrɛv rənd/
(initial capital letter) (used as a title of respect applied or prefixed to the name of a member of the clergy or a religious order):
Reverend Timothy Cranshaw; Reverend Mother.
worthy to be revered; entitled to reverence.
pertaining to or characteristic of the clergy.
Informal. a member of the clergy.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin reverendus worthy of being revered, gerund of reverērī to revere1
Related forms
reverendship, noun
Can be confused
reverend, reverent. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for reverend
  • Less menacing versions such as the one recorded by reverend elkanah walker exist.
  • reverend king said in his acceptance remarks, freedom is one thing.
  • Its first permanent minister was the reverend henry fairbanks.
British Dictionary definitions for reverend


worthy of reverence
relating to or designating a clergyman or the clergy
(informal) a clergyman
Word Origin
C15: from Latin reverendus fit to be revered; see revere


a title of respect for a clergyman Abbreviations Rev., Revd See also Very Reverend, Right Reverend, Most Reverend
Usage note
Reverend with a surname alone (Reverend Smith), as a term of address (``Yes, Reverend''), or in the salutation of a letter (Dear Rev. Mr Smith) are all generally considered to be wrong usage. Preferred are (the) Reverend John Smith or Reverend Mr Smith and Dear Mr Smith
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 reverend

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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for reverend

the ordinary English prefix of written address to the names of ministers of most Christian denominations. In the 15th century it was used as a general term of respectful address, but it has been habitually used as a title prefixed to the names of ordained clergymen since the 17th century. In the Church of England, prefects apostolic who are not in episcopal orders (e.g., deans, provosts, cathedral canons, rectors of seminaries and colleges, and priors and prioresses) are addressed as "very reverend." Bishops, abbots, abbesses, and vicars-general are addressed as "right reverend," and archbishops and (in Roman Catholicism) cardinals are addressed as "most reverend." The moderator of the Church of Scotland is also styled "right reverend." Carthusians use the title "reverend" only for their prior-general; all other Carthusian priests are styled "venerable father." While, strictly speaking, the term is an adjective to be followed by "Doctor" or "Mister," its common usage has made it a noun.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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