Think of a supplication as sort of a prayer, a request for help from a deity. The word carries a sense of awe and adoration with it, suggesting something tentative, even servile, a respectful appeal to a higher power.

Although it is a noun, supplication comes from the Latin verb supplicare, which means "to plead humbly." While a supplication is often thought of as a religious prayer (it is used 60 times in the Bible), it can logically be applied to any situation in which you must entreat someone in power for help or a favor. Still, it carries with it an aura of religiosity and deep entreaty, and should not be used to describe just any simple request.

Definitions of supplication

n the act of communicating with a deity (especially as a petition or in adoration or contrition or thanksgiving)

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(usually plural) religious observance or prayers (usually spoken silently)
benediction, blessing
the act of praying for divine protection
(Hinduism) loving devotion to a deity leading to salvation and nirvana; open to all persons independent of caste or sex
a Roman Catholic devotion consisting of prayers on nine consecutive days
Stations, Stations of the Cross
(Roman Catholic Church) a devotion consisting of fourteen prayers said before a series of fourteen pictures or carvings representing successive incidents during Jesus' passage from Pilate's house to his crucifixion at Calvary
Type of:
the activity of worshipping

n a prayer asking God's help as part of a religious service

a solemn supplication ceremony prescribed by the church
Type of:
orison, petition, prayer
reverent petition to a deity

n a humble request for help from someone in authority

Type of:
appeal, entreaty, prayer
earnest or urgent request

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