Word: reverent

Pronunciation: RE-və-rənt / RE-vrənt

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: feeling or showing deep and solemn respect

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


I don’t remember exactly where I first happened upon this word, but I’m fairly certain it was in a novel. I liked how it sounded just simple enough to seem like an average word, yet unusual enough to draw my attention in the first place. I really shouldn’t have had to wonder too much what it meant, because upon closer inspection, I realized just how familiar it actually was…

“Reverent” actions are those that demonstrate a high level of respect. The word is also an adjective in Latin meaning “revering”, a definition that made its way into late Middle English. The root verb “revere” stems from the French verb révérer and the Latin verb revereri, the latter of which is comprised of the elements re- (expressing intense force) and the verb vereri “to fear”.

Of course I should have recognized the word “reverent” right away. It has the word “revere” in it, which is a verb I’ve used plenty of times before in my writing. It also bears some resemblance to the noun form “reverence”, another word I know fairly well. Maybe the reason I enjoyed discovering this word is that I finally realized there was an adjective to complete the trio. So if you like to write detailed descriptions of characters who feel deep respect for others, keep in mind that you can write about the emotion itself, narrate the act of feeling respect, or describe such respectful actions, and you’ll know nothing can stop you!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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