Other forms: reverends; reverendly

Use the noun reverend to talk about a clergy member of a Christian church, as in: "Let's ask the reverend if she'll marry us next week."

A minister, preacher, or priest can each also be called a reverend. The word is often capitalized, especially when it's used in the form "the Reverend so-and-so." In the early 15th century, it meant "worthy of respect," a meaning that's sometimes still used today, and by the late part of that century it was being used for clergy members too, though it was earliest spelled reverent.

Definitions of reverend
  1. adjective
    worthy of adoration or reverence
    synonyms: sublime
    concerned with religion or religious purposes
  2. noun
    a member of the clergy and a spiritual leader of a Christian church
    synonyms: clergyman, man of the cloth
    see moresee less
    layman, layperson, secular
    someone who is not a clergyman or a professional person
    show 7 examples...
    hide 7 examples...
    Henry Ward Beecher
    United States clergyman who was a leader for the abolition of slavery (1813-1887)
    John Donne
    English clergyman and metaphysical poet celebrated as a preacher (1572-1631)
    John Keble
    English clergyman who (with John Henry Newman and Edward Pusey) founded the Oxford movement (1792-1866)
    Martin Luther King Jr.
    United States charismatic civil rights leader and Baptist minister who campaigned against the segregation of Blacks (1929-1968)
    John Wesley
    English clergyman and founder of Methodism (1703-1791)
    Charles Wesley
    English clergyman and brother of John Wesley who wrote many hymns (1707-1788)
    Roger Williams
    English clergyman and colonist who was expelled from Massachusetts for criticizing Puritanism; he founded Providence in 1636 and obtained a royal charter for Rhode Island in 1663 (1603-1683)
    show 41 types...
    hide 41 types...
    someone who assists a priest or minister in a liturgical service; a cleric ordained in the highest of the minor orders in the Roman Catholic Church but not in the Anglican Church or the Eastern Orthodox Churches
    a cleric in the minor orders of the Eastern Orthodox Church who reads the lessons aloud in the liturgy (analogous to the lector in the Roman Catholic Church)
    (Anglican Church) an ecclesiastical dignitary usually ranking just below a bishop
    a clergyman ministering to some institution
    churchman, cleric, divine, ecclesiastic
    a clergyman or other person in religious orders
    curate, minister, minister of religion, parson, pastor, rector
    a person authorized to conduct religious worship
    a cleric ranking just below a priest in Christian churches; one of the Holy Orders
    domine, dominee, dominie, dominus
    a clergyman; especially a settled minister or parson
    doorkeeper, ostiarius, ostiary
    the lowest of the minor Holy Orders in the unreformed Western Church but now suppressed by the Roman Catholic Church
    lector, reader
    someone who reads the lessons in a church service; someone ordained in a minor order of the Roman Catholic Church
    a clergyman who officiates at a religious ceremony or service
    a person being ordained
    a clergyman appointed to prepare condemned prisoners for death
    (Roman Catholic Church) someone who proposes or pleads for a candidate for beatification or canonization
    preacher, preacher man, sermoniser, sermonizer
    someone whose occupation is preaching the gospel
    a clergyman in Christian churches who has the authority to perform or administer various religious rites; one of the Holy Orders
    a clergyman who watches over a group of people
    a clergyman an order below deacon; one of the Holy Orders in the unreformed western Christian church and the eastern Catholic Churches but now suppressed in the Roman Catholic Church
    (Church of England) a clergyman appointed to act as priest of a parish
    (Episcopal Church) a clergyman in charge of a chapel
    altar boy
    a boy serving as an acolyte
    archpriest, hierarch, high priest, prelate, primate
    a senior clergyman and dignitary
    a senior member of the Christian clergy having spiritual and administrative authority; appointed in Christian churches to oversee priests or ministers; considered in some churches to be successors of the twelve Apostles of Christ
    a priest who is a member of a cathedral chapter
    an officiating priest celebrating the Eucharist
    prison chaplain
    a chaplain in a prison
    a priest who hears confession and gives absolution
    domestic prelate
    (Roman Catholic Church) a priest who is an honorary member of the papal household
    evangelist, gospeler, gospeller, revivalist
    a preacher of the Christian gospel
    Father, Padre
    `Father' is a term of address for priests in some churches (especially the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Catholic Church); `Padre' is frequently used in the military
    hospital chaplain
    a chaplain in a hospital
    Holy Joe, military chaplain, padre, sky pilot
    a chaplain in one of the military services
    someone who serves as a minister
    (Roman Catholic Church) an ecclesiastical title of honor bestowed on some priests
    a cleric who ordains; a cleric who admits someone to holy orders
    a medieval cleric who raised money for the church by selling papal indulgences
    a cleric who holds more than one benefice at a time
    a member of the highest council of priests in ancient Rome
    a woman priest
    an acolyte who carries a thurible
    a Roman Catholic priest who acts for another higher-ranking clergyman
    type of:
    spiritual leader
    a leader in religious or sacred affairs
Cite this entry
  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago

A paragraph of text

Copy citation
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘reverend'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up reverend for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer