Religious, besides meaning "having to do with religion," can also mean "acting as if something is a religion." If you have never missed a broadcast of your favorite TV show for the last five years, then you're religious about it.

Just as religion is a broad concept with multiple manifestations, the word religious can be used in many contexts. You could literally be describing someone's particular religious duties as prescribed by his religion. If you have a religious temperament, you think about spiritual things a lot. If someone is a fanatic about football, you could describe him as a religious fan. That doesn't mean he thinks the football is God, just that he really, really cares.

Definitions of religious

adj having or showing belief in and reverence for a deity

“a religious man”
religious attitude”
having or showing or expressing reverence for a deity
actively practicing a religion
resembling or suggesting or appropriate to a church
devout, god-fearing
deeply religious
involving persons of different religious faiths
hostile or indifferent to religion
lacking piety or reverence for a god
atheistic, atheistical, unbelieving
rejecting any belief in gods
ethnic, heathen, heathenish, pagan
not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam
lapsed, nonchurchgoing
no longer active or practicing
failing or refusing to observe religious customs
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adj concerned with sacred matters or religion or the church

religious texts”
“a member of a religious order”
concerned with religion or religious purposes

adj of or relating to clergy bound by monastic vows

“the religious or regular clergy conducts the service”
of or relating to clergy not bound by monastic vows

adj extremely scrupulous and conscientious

religious in observing the rules of health”
having scruples; arising from a sense of right and wrong; principled

n a member of a religious order who is bound by vows of poverty and chastity and obedience

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Thomas Merton
United States religious and writer (1915-1968)
Roger Bacon
English scientist and Franciscan monk who stressed the importance of experimentation; first showed that air is required for combustion and first used lenses to correct vision (1220-1292)
Saint Benedict
Italian monk who founded the Benedictine order about 540 (480-547)
Saint Bridget
Irish abbess; a patron saint of Ireland (453-523)
student and mistress and wife of Abelard (circa 1098-1164)
Gregor Mendel
Augustinian monk and botanist whose experiments in breeding garden peas led to his eventual recognition as founder of the science of genetics (1822-1884)
a British or Irish monk who denied the doctrines of original sin and predestination and defended human goodness and free will; his views were declared heretical by the Council of Ephesus in 431 (circa 360-418)
Girolamo Savonarola
Italian religious and political reformer; a Dominican friar in Florence who preached against sin and corruption and gained a large following; he expelled the Medici from Florence but was later excommunicated and executed for criticizing the Pope (1452-1498)
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu
Indian nun and missionary in the Roman Catholic Church (born of Albanian parents in what is now Macedonia); dedicated to helping the poor in India (1910-1997)
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friar, mendicant
a male member of a religious order that originally relied solely on alms
monastic, monk
a male religious living in a cloister and devoting himself to contemplation and prayer and work
a monk or nun belonging to the order founded by Saint Benedict
a member of the Jesuit order
a woman religious
a Christian recluse
cenobite, coenobite
a member of a religious order living in common
the head of a religious community
one bound by vows to a religion or life of worship or service
abbess, mother superior, prioress
the superior of a group of nuns
abbot, archimandrite
the superior of an abbey of monks
(Roman Catholic Church) a title given to a monk and used as form of address
a member of the Carthusian order
the head of a religious order; in an abbey the prior is next below the abbot
anchorite, hermit
one retired from society for religious reasons
(Roman Catholic Church) a title given to a nun (and used as a form of address)
Cistercian, Trappist
member of an order of monks noted for austerity and a vow of silence
Carmelite, White Friar
a Roman Catholic friar wearing the white cloak of the Carmelite order; mendicant preachers
Black Friar, Blackfriar, Dominican, friar preacher
a Roman Catholic friar wearing the black mantle of the Dominican order
Franciscan, Grey Friar
a Roman Catholic friar wearing the grey habit of the Franciscan order
a Roman Catholic friar or monk belonging to one of the Augustinian monastic orders
Type of:
religious person
a person who manifests devotion to a deity

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