reverend

[rev-er-uhnd, rev-ruhnd]
adjective
1.
(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.
2.
worthy to be revered; entitled to reverence.
3.
pertaining to or characteristic of the clergy.
noun
4.
Informal. a member of the clergy.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English < Latin reverendus worthy of being revered, gerund of reverērī to revere1

reverendship, noun

reverend, reverent.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
reverend (ˈrɛvərənd)
 
adj
1.  worthy of reverence
2.  relating to or designating a clergyman or the clergy
 
n
3.  informal a clergyman
 
[C15: from Latin reverendus fit to be revered; see revere]

Reverend (ˈrɛvərənd)
 
adj
Very Reverend Right Reverend See also Most Reverend Rev., Abbreviations: Revd a title of respect for a clergyman
 
usage  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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

reverend
1428, "worthy of respect," from M.Fr. reverend, from L. reverendus "(he who is) to be respected," gerundive of revereri (see reverence). As a form of address for clergymen, it is attested from 1485; earlier reverent (c.1380 in this sense). Abbreviation Rev. is attested
from 1721, earlier Revd. (1693). Very Reverend is used of deans, Right Reverend of bishops, Most Reverend of archbishops.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

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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