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(1)   Behavior intended to please your parents
"Their children were never very strong on obedience"
"He went to law school out of respect for his father's wishes"
(2)   A courteous expression (by word or deed) of esteem or regard
"His deference to her wishes was very flattering"
"Be sure to give my respects to the dean"
(3)   Courteous regard for people's feelings
"In deference to your wishes"
"Out of respect for his privacy"
(4)   (usually preceded by `in') a detail or point
"It differs in that respect"
(5)   An attitude of admiration or esteem
"She lost all respect for him"
(6)   A feeling of friendship and esteem
"She mistook his manly regard for love"
"He inspires respect"
(7)   The condition of being honored (esteemed or respected or well regarded)
"It is held in esteem"
"A man who has earned high regard"


(8)   Regard highly; think much of
"I respect his judgement"
"We prize his creativity"
(9)   Show respect towards
"Honor your parents!"


From , freq. of < + .


  1. an attitude of consideration or high regard
    He is an intellectual giant, and I have great respect for him.
    Syngman Rhee kept imprisoned the Dowager Queen Yun Empress Sunjeong of the Korean Empire for fear of the respect the people held for her.
  2. good opinion, honor, or admiration
  3. Polite greetings, often offered as condolences after a death.
    The mourners paid their last respects to the deceased poet.
  4. a particular aspect of something
    This year's model is superior to last year's in several respects.


deference, consideration, regard, fealty admiration, esteem, reverence, regard, recognition, veneration, honor aspect, facet, face, side, dimension



  1. to have respect for.
    She is an intellectual giant, and I respect her greatly.
  2. to have regard for the rights of others.
    I respect your right to hold this belief although I think it is nonsense.
  3. to abide by an agreement.
    They failed to respect the treaty they had signed, and invaded.

Usage notes

It is possible that a confusion between the different meanings of respect affects the attitudes of people and organizations. For example, freedom of religion implies that we must respect the right of anyone to believe whatever they wish, to act within the law in accordance with their beliefs, and not to be discriminated against on account of their beliefs. However, the use of the word respect seems to have shifted our attitudes towards the quite different notion that we must behave respectfully towards their beliefs, and not criticise them. This is a restriction on freedom of speech, and is inherently hypocritical—anyone with any view on religion must necessarily believe that those who believe differently are deluded, although their rights must be respected.

The distinction between the two meanings can be shown by paraphrasing Voltaire: "I totally disrespect what you say, but absolutely respect your right to say it."