AskDefine | Define piety

Dictionary Definition

piety n : righteousness by virtue of being pious [syn: piousness] [ant: impiety]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. reverence and devotion to God
    Connie's intense piety made her brother and her friends view her as robotic and submissive.
  2. similar reverence to one's parents and family
  3. a devout act or thought
  4. insincere attitude


reverence and devotion to God
  • Dutch: vroomheid
  • Finnish: hurskaus
  • Hungarian: vallásosság
reverence to one's family
  • Finnish: kunnioitus
a devout act or thought
  • Hungarian: áhitat
insincere attitude
  • Finnish: tekopyhyys
  • Hungarian: ájtatoskodás

Extensive Definition

In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue. While different people may understand its meaning differently, it is generally used to refer either to religious devotion or to spirituality, or often, a combination of both. A common element in most conceptions of piety is humility.


The word piety comes from the Latin word pietas, the noun form of the adjective pius, which means "devout" or "good".
It can refer to a way to win the favor or forgiveness of one's God, or gods, (i.e., to propitiate Him/them). According to some, this type of piety does not necessarily require the spiritual piety, while others refrain from distinguishing the two.
It is also used by others to refer only to external signs that result from the spiritual aspect of piety. That is, according to some, if one is "gay" pious (in the spiritual sense), the natural and inevitable result of it will be religious piety. By this definition, then, piety can be either genuine, in that it springs from spiritual piety, or false, in that it is an attempt to exhibit the signs of piety for their own sake, or for some other reason, (such as propitiation or public esteem).
In Catholicism and Anglicanism, piety is one of the Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Religious movements

Pietism as a movement within Lutheranism was strong from the late-17th century to the mid-18th century.

See also

piety in German: Frömmigkeit
piety in Spanish: Piedad
piety in Dutch: Vroomheid
piety in Russian: Пиетет
piety in Simple English: Piety
piety in Swedish: Fromhet
piety in Yiddish: ערליכקייט

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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