Definition of pious in English:



  • 1Devoutly religious.

    • ‘I was rather pious about my religion and thought I might be a priest.’
    • ‘Both feel deeply about nature and religion, and are devotedly pious to church and religion.’
    • ‘His supporters view his rise as just reward for a deeply pious man.’
    • ‘She is deeply pious but also brave and fiercely protective of her son.’
    • ‘Both her father and mother were pious Christians who regularly conducted home devotions and faithfully attended church.’
    • ‘But her mother, my maternal grandmother, was very pious and strict about religion.’
    • ‘Even among the most pious, few could afford to neglect appearances.’
    • ‘As pious Jews they had held that Yahweh alone was God and that no human being could be divine.’
    • ‘Now the third important point related to government regulation is the aim of religion education is to develop pious and devout students.’
    • ‘However, Bosch was an orthodox Christian, a member of the Brotherhood of our Lady, a pious religious confraternity.’
    • ‘Of all the religions, the best religion is to repeat God's Name and to do pious deeds.’
    • ‘Somehow or other, by destiny, this sinner did perform a pious deed, and by that deed he became purified.’
    • ‘I am sure he and his comrades saw themselves as pious Muslims.’
    • ‘When he enters, everybody falls to the ground in a very pious manner.’
    • ‘In fact, some of these would not be suitable for a more pious audience.’
    • ‘Children dress up as witches on Halloween, much to the dismay of certain pious Christians.’
    • ‘This is not a movie aimed at the religiously pious.’
    • ‘She was a very pious woman who despised anything that was not Christian.’
    • ‘By prayer and meditation the pious Buddhist enters into living communion with the heavenly Lord.’
    religious, devout, devoted, dedicated, reverent, god-fearing, churchgoing, spiritual, prayerful, holy, godly, saintly, faithful, dutiful, righteous
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    1. 1.1Making a hypocritical display of virtue.
      ‘there'll be no pious words said over her’
      • ‘He's a pious hypocrite and a greedy, petty, stupid, mean-minded crook.’
      • ‘There is enormous hypocrisy surrounding the pious veneration of the Constitution and ‘the rule of law.’’
      • ‘Yes, the new EU constitution has plenty of pious words about ensuring that there should be no unfair state aids and other subsidies.’
      • ‘Second, in the pious and hypocritical words of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ‘we live in a country of laws where there can be severe consequences for those who break them.’’
      • ‘Once again, there is no sign of any reaction from the United Nations beyond pious platitudes.’
      • ‘They have tried upon me all their various batteries of pious whining, hypocritical canting, lying and slandering.’
      • ‘We will doubtless hear some pious hypocrisies from Jack Straw.’
      • ‘The sheer supercilious, pious hypocracy fair takes the breath away.’
      • ‘His answer to all these questions is the pious platitude, ‘one standard of citizenship’.’
      • ‘Many pious words have been spoken in the past few days about bringing the country back into the European family, supporting democracy, fresh starts, and so on.’
      • ‘Yet it has evolved as the major challenge of our day, demanding responses beyond pious platitudes.’
      • ‘What stopped this from being a pious platitude was his accompanying insistence that the objective could be achieved by reform.’
      • ‘Laid out on the table in front of me were the pious platitudes of Government Ministers responding to the loss of 350 permanent jobs in Donegal.’
      • ‘We have more pious language, more platitudes, no clear definition, no consistency, and no clarity for those people who have to work under the Act.’
      • ‘So it would be a mistake for Democrats to start sounding more pious.’
      • ‘I mean, that sounds rather pious, but that is the way it is.’
      • ‘I am referring to the word that means ‘insincere talk, especially concerning morals; pious platitudes’.’
      • ‘But this is one issue on which I think incoherence and vacillation, combined with a liberal dose of pious platitudes, are exactly what most people want.’
      • ‘If one is looking for pious platitudes, this is not the place to come.’
      • ‘He said all the pious words about fresh air and cuddly animals but nothing about the obligations which might be imposed on industry.’
      sanctimonious, hypocritical, insincere, self-righteous, holier-than-thou, pietistic, churchy
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    2. 1.2[attributive](of a hope) sincere but unlikely to be fulfilled.
      • ‘Despite pious hopes, it is unlikely that any national government will allow the UN to tax its citizens or that taxes, like books, will be destroyed by the Web.’
      • ‘They harbour the pious hope that change is easier from within than from without.’
      • ‘The publication of this special edition of Folklore suggests that this possibility is now more than a pipe-dream or a pious hope.’
      • ‘"Cheats never prosper " is a pious hope rather than a reality.’
      • ‘All of our economic objectives, and all the pious hopes that can ring around the walls of this House about what we might aim to achieve, will fail if we as a nation lack a sense of our national purpose.’
      • ‘That has turned out to be little more than a pious hope.’
      • ‘This was to prove a pious hope, the costs doubling over the period.’
      • ‘Well, it would be nice to think that the pious hopes expressed in the Speech from the Throne would result in real action.’
      • ‘The message was delivered through an intermediary, leaving the CIA with the pious hope that once its wishes had been made known, Viaux would respect them.’
      • ‘The option to renew is nothing other than what Cote calls ‘a pious hope that an agreement may later be reached’.’
      • ‘Does it have anything other than a vain and pious hope that that could actually be achieved, or is the Government treating it in a cavalier fashion?’
      • ‘Their slogan is ‘there has to be a better way’, but they cannot specify anything more than pious hopes.’
      • ‘Their response, however, consists of a pathetic mixture of pious wishes and unrealistic hopes.’
      • ‘The document it produced was toothless, consisting of many pious hopes and a few unenforceable targets.’
      • ‘Yet reality must be confronted, if reconciliation is to be more than a pious hope.’
      • ‘In a world come of age, we have no luxury of a pious hope that God is either our copilot or an air traffic controller who would save us from crashing into each other.’
      • ‘This announcement should be seen as a pious hope rather than as a political reality.’
      • ‘However, their recommendation so far remained a pious wish without suitable legislative support.’
      • ‘For socialists, it is not an empty phrase or a pious wish.’
      sincere, forlorn, vain, desperate, despairing, doomed, hopeless, lost
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    3. 1.3archaic Dutiful or loyal, especially toward one's parents.
      • ‘Since sons and daughters were supposed to learn how to be loyal to the king by being pious to their parents, one could not easily excise the first bond.’
      • ‘Proper behavior means to be loyal, filially pious respectful and trustworthy.’


Late Middle English: from Latin pius dutiful, pious + -ous.