Reverend - reverent

From Awe

Jump to: navigation, search

Listed by Fowler (1931) as a malaprop in the first group: these are two words with similar meanings and identical origins, which should not be muddled.

  • reverend means generally 'worthy of reverence or respect'. More particularly, it has become a normal courtesy title for a priest or minister of the Christian religion. Such clerics are labelled 'The Reverend John Smith' or 'the Reverend Smith'; senior people, like Bishops, are known as 'the Right Reverend', and for some other ranks such as Dean, 'the Very Reverend'. In the Roman Catholic church, priests are known as 'The Reverend Father John Smith'. It is not regarded as correct in formal writing to follow the practice of some speakers in calling a professional member of the church 'the reverend', as a form of common noun. The ending -end is that of a Latin gerundive, which has the meaning 'something which ought to be ...'.
  • The ending of reverent, on the other hand, shows that it is an active participle in Latin, meaning that it is 'doing [something]'. So here a spectator may may 'feel reverence or respect for' somer person or object which is reverend, or worth the reverence that the spectator feels.
Personal tools