If you’re respectful, you show consideration and regard for someone or something. Be respectful of your neighbors and turn down your disco music when it gets late.

Respectful is the adjective form of the common word respect, which means a feeling of admiration. So when you behave in a way that’s respectful, you’re doing something to show admiration for another person. You might sit in respectful silence when your teacher enters the room. You can be respectful of situations as well as people. You might be respectful of the democratic process and not complain about not winning your school election.

Definitions of respectful
  1. adjective
    full of or exhibiting respect
    respectful behavior”
    “a respectful glance”
    characterized by courtesy and gracious good manners
    marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful
    deferent, deferential, regardful
    showing deference
    conferring or showing honor or respect
    feeling or showing profound respect or veneration
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    exhibiting lack of respect; rude and discourteous
    showing no courtesy; rude
    having or showing an exaggerated opinion of your importance, ability, etc
    causing anger or annoyance
    annihilating, devastating, withering
    making light of
    contemptuous, disdainful, insulting, scornful
    expressing extreme contempt
    arrogantly insolent
    derisive, gibelike, jeering, mocking, taunting
    abusing vocally; expressing contempt or ridicule
    impious, undutiful
    lacking due respect or dutifulness
    flip, impudent, insolent, snotty-nosed
    marked by casual disrespect
    not showing courteous respect
    showing lack of due respect or veneration
    expressing or expressive of ridicule that wounds
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  2. adjective
    feeling or manifesting veneration
    synonyms: reverential, venerating
    feeling or showing profound respect or veneration
Commonly confused words

respectfully / respectively

If you kiss the mob boss’s ring, do it respectfully, or full of respect and admiration. But respectively means “in the order given,” so if you have to kiss up to the rest of the mob, make sure to shake hands and high five Jimmy Rags and Tommy Two Face, respectively because Jimmy prefers a handshake, but Tommy loves a good high five.

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