Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Meriting respect or esteem; worthy.
  • adj. Of or appropriate to good or proper behavior or conventional conduct.
  • adj. Of moderately good quality: respectable work.
  • adj. Considerable in amount, number, or size: a respectable sum of money.
  • adj. Acceptable in appearance; presentable: a respectable hat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. deserving respect
  • adj. decent; satisfactory

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Worthy of respect; fitted to awaken esteem; deserving regard; hence, of good repute; not mean.
  • adj. Moderate in degree of excellence or in number.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Capable of being respected; worthy of respect or esteem.
  • Having an honest or good reputation; standing well with other people; reputable: as, born of poor but respectable parents.
  • Occupying or pertaining to a fairly good position in society; moderately well-to-do.
  • Mediocre; moderate; fair; not despisable.
  • Proper; decent: as, conduct that is not respectable.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. deserving of esteem and respect
  • adj. characterized by socially or conventionally acceptable morals
  • adj. large in amount or extent or degree

Etymologies

respect +‎ -able (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Duke of Argyle's 'respectable guest,' and _post_, under Sept. 5, 1780, writes of 'the _respectable_ notion which should ever be entertained of my illustrious friend.'

    Life of Johnson, Volume 3 1776-1780

  • I think, therefore, that whilst others have been for some time already formed in the neighborhood, your use of the term respectable was, to say the least of it, unhandsome.

    Valentine M'Clutchy, The Irish Agent The Works of William Carleton, Volume Two

  • Here, to the number of six hundred, was assembled all of the democracy of Mobile having a claim to the term respectable, properly applied to habit and character, not to calling or wealth.

    Impressions of America During The Years 1833, 1834, and 1835. In Two Volumes, Volume II.

  • Parisian songs of Vade and Collard, — pretty songs they were too; and would make such of his hearers as understood French burst with laughing, and, I promise you, scandalise some of the old dowagers who were admitted into the society of his mamma: not that there were many of them; for I did not encourage the visits of what you call respectable people to Lady Lyndon.

    The Memoires of Barry Lyndon

  • Well, it's not what I call respectable to have your children in and out of gaol.

    Fanny's First Play

  • A sweet-faced, laughing lady, known to fame by a title respectable and orthodox, appears an honoured guest to-day at many a literary gathering.

    Tommy and Co.

  • 'Now that's what I call a respectable turn-out!' was the phrase passed from mouth to mouth in the crowd gathering near the door.

    The Nether World

  • He was precocious in all things: at a very early age he would mimic everybody; at five, he would sit at table, and drink his glass of champagne with the best of us; and his nurse would teach him little French catches, and the last Parisian songs of Vade and Collard, -- pretty songs they were too; and would make such of his hearers as understood French burst with laughing, and, I promise you, scandalise some of the old dowagers who were admitted into the society of his mamma: not that there were many of them; for I did not encourage the visits of what you call respectable people to Lady

    Barry Lyndon

  • Evil is tolerating their pretense of being decent human beings worthy of courtesy and membership in respectable society.

    Matthew Yglesias » The Trouble With Standing Athwart History

  • Cherry Jones, who is as accomplished a stage actor as we have today, plays the unapologetically vulgar madam whose "private hotels" are sufficiently profitable to allow her to buy Vivie (Sally Hawkins), her brainy daughter, a place in respectable English society.

    A New Take on an Old Shaw

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