AskDefine | Define venerable

Dictionary Definition

venerable adj
1 impressive by reason of age; "a venerable sage with white hair and beard"
2 profoundly honored; "revered holy men" [syn: august, revered]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈvɛnəɹəbl/


  1. commanding respect because of age, dignity, character or position
  2. worthy of reverence
  3. ancient, antiquated or archaic
  1. Used as a form of address for an archdeacon in the Anglican Church
  2. Used as a form of address in the Roman Catholic Church for someone in the first stages of sainthood
  3. Used as a form of address in the Eastern Orthodox Church for some saints
  4. made sacred especially by religious or historical association
  5. a : calling forth respect through age, character, and attainments; broadly : conveying an impression of aged goodness and benevolence b : impressive by reason of age


Related terms

Extensive Definition

Venerable is an official epithet in several Christian churches. It is also the common English language translation of a number of Buddhist titles.

Roman Catholic

In the Catholic Church's Latin rite, venerable is the title of a person who has been posthumously declared "heroic in virtue" during the investigation and process leading to canonization as a saint. Before one is considered venerable, he or she must be declared as such by a proclamation approved by the pope of having lived lives that were "heroic in virtue" -- the virtues being the Theological Virtues of faith, hope and charity and the Cardinal Virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. The next step is beatification, at which point the person is referred to as Blessed, and then finally canonization, at which point the person is referred to as Saint.
The 7th century English monk St Bede was given the title venerable soon after his death; he was the first person to be recorded as Venerable.

Eastern Orthodox

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, venerable (Greek: "Όσιος" for men and "Οσία" for women; ) is a title attributed to saints who had lived a monastic or eremitic life, and it is considered equal or sometimes superior to the usual "Saint".


In the Anglican Communion, "the Venerable" (abbreviated as "the Ven.") is the honorific given to an Archdeacon.


The title of Venerable is the Western title for ordained Buddhist monks or nuns. In the Theravadan tradition the title venerable is called somdet phra, which is given to ordained monks. It is a comparable title to Reverend. Some Mahayana sects also use the title of venerable for monks (In China, monks are denoted with the title of fashi, or Dharma master). The title of master may be followed after monks who have achieved a high level of cultivation.
venerable in Czech: Ctihodný
venerable in Spanish: Venerable
venerable in French: Vénérable (catholicisme)
venerable in Korean: 가경자
venerable in Italian: Venerabile
venerable in Dutch: Eerbiedwaardigheid
venerable in Portuguese: Venerável
venerable in Russian: Преподобные
venerable in Serbo-Croatian: Velečasni

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

acknowledged, admirable, admitted, advanced, advanced in life, advanced in years, age-old, aged, ageless, along in years, ancient, antediluvian, antique, aristocratic, august, auld, awe-inspiring, awesome, awful, conventional, courtly, creditable, customary, dateless, dignified, divine, dreadful, elderly, established, esteemed, estimable, fixed, folk, grand, grave, gray, gray with age, gray-haired, gray-headed, grown old, hallowed, handed down, heavenly, held in esteem, heroic, highly esteemed, highly regarded, highly reputed, highly respectable, hoar, hoary, holy, honorable, honored, immemorial, imposing, impressive, in favor, in good odor, in high favor, ineffable, inenarrable, inexpressible, inveterate, inviolable, inviolate, kingly, legendary, long-established, long-standing, lordly, magisterial, majestic, meritorious, mythological, noble, numinous, of long standing, of old, of the folk, of yore, old, old as Methuselah, old as history, old as time, old-time, olden, oral, patriarchal, prescriptive, prestigious, princely, queenly, received, recognized, regal, religious, reputable, respectable, respected, revered, reverenced, reverend, reverential, rooted, royal, sacred, sacrosanct, sedate, senectuous, sober, solemn, spiritual, stately, statuesque, time-honored, timeless, timeworn, traditional, tried and true, true-blue, understood, unspeakable, untouchable, unutterable, unwritten, venerated, well-thought-of, white, white with age, white-bearded, white-crowned, white-haired, worshipful, worthy, wrinkled, wrinkly, years old
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