Definition of religion in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

    ‘ideas about the relationship between science and religion’
    • ‘On her death bed, his mother confided that she finally understood the power of religion in his life.’
    • ‘Instead of rewriting history and using religion as a power tool, he would rather that politicians embrace technology.’
    • ‘Bonaparte, however, had never made the mistake of underestimating either the power of religion or the resilience of the Church.’
    • ‘Have westernised intellectuals underestimated the power of religion?’
    • ‘Later chapters return to the relationship among religion, politics and power.’
    • ‘It is best known, of course, for its extreme views on religion and morality and personal conduct.’
    • ‘On the other, they say religion has little power to bring peace and harmony to the world.’
    • ‘I am a person for whom religion has never been important in my life, and I am really scared of the power of religion now.’
    • ‘The secularization debate is primarily concerned with the role or power of religion and churches in society.’
    • ‘I feel that religion or religious beliefs should not be used as an argument against the rights given to private people.’
    • ‘Many people today are saying how organised religion does nothing for society, and it helps no one.’
    • ‘He understood the ideological power of religion as well as its miraculous strength.’
    • ‘But, as Karl Marx put it, religion is also the opiate of the people.’
    • ‘Organised religion is based on far more abstract concepts.’
    • ‘If people believe in religion it means they don't believe in science.’
    • ‘The freedom to manifest religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching encompasses a broad range of acts.’
    • ‘We had been schooled to dismiss them as being objects of religion, ritual and superstition.’
    • ‘While it's true that religion is a deeply personal issue, entertainment is not.’
    • ‘He finds no use for organized religion in the life and conduct of intelligent men.’
    • ‘Since when has religion and one's personal spiritual belief become the focal point of a candidacy?’
    faith, belief, divinity, worship, creed, teaching, doctrine, theology
    sect, cult, religious group, faith community, church, denomination, body, following, persuasion, affiliation
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    1. 1.1[count noun]A particular system of faith and worship.
      ‘the world's great religions’
      • ‘Those who believe in pluralism think that every religion has spiritual power.’
      • ‘And we did not practice Buddhist or Shinto religions.’
      • ‘Church and state are separate today, but Catholicism is the religion of the great majority.’
      • ‘Secularism does not reject religion but attempts to bar any single religion from gaining political control.’
      • ‘No organized religion preaches murder and hatred of innocent people.’
      • ‘Hinduism is a complex religion, and there are many paths in it.’
      • ‘The official state religion is Roman Catholicism, but Evangelical Protestant movements are making converts among traditional Catholic believers.’
      • ‘Notice that they converted to Lutheranism, although Catholicism was the majority religion in Vienna and in Austria.’
      • ‘Is the problem that Judaism is a religion as well as an ethnicity?’
      • ‘Regardless of your religion or personal beliefs, I will always stand against censorship.’
      • ‘Many refused full equality to adherents of minority religions until well into the century.’
      • ‘Christianity is the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.’
      • ‘Buddhism is the majority religion there, and a particularly militant strain predominates.’
      • ‘The roots of Japanese mythology are in the Shinto religion, in Taoism and in Zen Buddhism alike.’
      • ‘Wicca is a nature religion based upon beliefs and rites believed to be rooted in ancient practices.’
      • ‘After having done the study I came to realize that Buddhism is a family religion.’
      • ‘Yet Wicca is a religion, you can't invent it as you go along.’
      • ‘Yet the power of our civic religion lies not in any sanctions it imposes but in the moral sensibility it nurtures.’
      • ‘They don't see the truth because they come here to impose their religion's power.’
      • ‘Christianity is a liberating religion, and forgiveness of sins is a liberating experience.’
      faith, religious persuasion, religious conviction, religious group, faith community, church
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2[count noun]A pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.
      ‘consumerism is the new religion’
      • ‘The consequent pursuit of thinness had become a new religion, she said, and she showed a range of advertisements to support her claims.’
      • ‘It's the backdrop because football is considered a religion worldwide and the most viewed game.’
      • ‘This brings up another point: hockey in the BCHL ceases to be a religion and becomes secondary to education.’
      • ‘We've been told time and again that cricket is a religion in India.’
      • ‘Online marketers realize that return on investment is the religion they need to follow.’
      • ‘In this city where rugby is a religion, there is the feeling that Moses has led them to the mountaintop.’
      • ‘It serves only one master - corporate greed - that is their religion and their power.’
      • ‘The pursuit of eating raw food has become a religion of the nuttier kind.’


  • get religion

    • informal Be converted to religious belief and practices.

      ‘he got religion and gave his money to the poor’
      • ‘Others got religion or turned to booze as a way of salving their incurable ache for space.’
      • ‘When he got religion, it was framed as a rejection of the rest of his career, and he had to backpedal or move on (depending on how you look at it), before he had a chance to speak to his wider audience again.’
      • ‘Billboards used to ask us to get religion and go to ‘the church of [our] choice.’’
      • ‘He knew she'd got religion because she'd said as much, but whatever it was, he hadn't wanted any part of it for himself.’
      • ‘To her, though, it will always be the place where she got religion.’
      • ‘Many people in rehab, and in defeat, get religion.’
      • ‘He's a fellah I was at school with who was a gardener, but he got religion so keep away from him.’
      • ‘I'm hardly an authority on saints, or irony, but am I right in thinking that, before he got religion, St. Andrew was a Middle Eastern fisherman?’
      • ‘Three lives collide after a car crash: transplant patient/mathematician Sean Penn, grieving mother Naomi Watts and Benicio del Toro as an ex-con who got religion.’
      • ‘They got religion, and they're going crazy and that's great.’


Middle English (originally in the sense ‘life under monastic vows’): from Old French, or from Latin religio(n-) obligation, bond, reverence, perhaps based on Latin religare to bind.