Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Earnestly compliant in the observance of religion; reverent or devout.
  • adjective Showing or characterized by religious devotion.
  • adjective Expressive of or used in religious devotion; devotional.
  • adjective Done for the benefit of others or with the intention of encouraging good.
  • adjective Sincere but wishful or far-fetched.
  • adjective Self-righteous or sanctimonious.
  • adjective Archaic Professing or exhibiting traditional morality; dutiful.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Having or exhibiting due respect and affection for parents or others to whom respect and affection are due; also, pertaining to or consisting in the duties of respect and affection toward parents or others.
  • Having faith in and reverence for the Supreme Being; actuated by faith in and reverence for God; godly; devout: said of persons.
  • Dictated by reverence for God; proceeding from piety: said of things: as, pious awe; pious services; pious sorrow.
  • Practised under the pretense of religion or for a good end: as, pious frauds.
  • Religious, holy, righteous, saintly. See religion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to piety; exhibiting piety; reverential; dutiful; religious; devout; godly.
  • adjective Practiced under the pretext of religion; prompted by mistaken piety

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to piety, exhibiting piety, devout, godfearing.

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

  • adjective having or showing or expressing reverence for a deity

Etymologies

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

[From Latin pius, dutiful.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin pīus ("pious, dutiful, blessed, kind, devout"), from Proto-Indo-European *pey- (“to adore”). Cognate with Old English fǣle ("faithful, trusty, good; dear, beloved"). More at feal.

Examples

  • The word pious fits because Republicans really do worship the top 1 percent and the Wall Street tycoons like Romney who manipulate money but don't actually build anything or create net new jobs.

    Mike Lux: So Much for a Quiet Monday Afternoon

  • Secondly, it is a good example of what I call the pious palimpsest.

    Old Calabria

  • If you type in the word 'pious' in Google it now comes up 'pious baloney.'

    NYT > Home Page

  • -- At last, my mother could no longer bear to see me perplex and vex myself in my fruitless search for the letter, and confessed that while we were talking the preceding day, finding that no arguments or persuasions of hers had had any effect, she had determined on what she called a pious fraud: so, while

    Tales and Novels — Volume 09

  • Martita kneeled on the front row with her hands pressed together in pious prayer-like fashion.

    San Francisco, Ixtacamaxtitlan, part 2

  • Martita kneeled on the front row with her hands pressed together in pious prayer-like fashion.

    San Francisco, Ixtacamaxtitlan, part 2

  • It reached the ears of a certain pious man that there abode in such a town a blacksmith, who could put his hand into the fire and pull out the iron red-hot, without the flames doing him aught of hurt. 482

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • In the colony Derré de Gand was known as a pious and charitable man who “sought God in the spirit of truth.”

    Champlain's Dream

  • In the colony Derré de Gand was known as a pious and charitable man who “sought God in the spirit of truth.”

    Champlain's Dream

  • He has long abandoned the belief that one must speak in pious platitudes about doing what the framers intended, or not legislating from the bench.

    Balkinization

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