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pious

used in a sentence
3 meanings
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1  —as in:
a good, pious woman
Definition religious or highly moral
  • The cartoon with a drawing of Muhammad outraged many pious Muslims.
pious = highly religious
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • Her piety required her to help her neighbors who were in need.
  • piety = highly moral beliefs
  • Benjamin Franklin's parents were pious Puritans.
  • pious = highly religious or highly moral
  • In November 1510, on behalf of seven Augustinian monasteries, he [Luther] made a visit to Rome, where he performed the religious duties customary for a pious visitor and was shocked by the worldliness of the Roman clergy.
    Martin Luther - MSN Encarta  --  http://encarta.msn.com/text_761570003___0/Martin_Luther.html (retrieved 05/21/06)
  • pious = religious and highly moral
  • It pains her, as a pious Muslim, that some fundamentalists want to kill her in the name of Islam.
    Nicholas D. Kristof  --  Half the Sky
  • pious = religious
  • Moody began to say his Islamic prayers with a piety I had not witnessed in him before.
    Betty Mahmoody  --  Not Without My Daughter
  • piety = religious devotion
  • I knew an old black man, whose piety and childlike trust in God were beautiful to witness
    Harriet Jacobs  --  Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • piety = highly religious belief or behavior
  • [Immanuel Kant] His family was deeply pious, and his own religious conviction formed a significant background to his philosophy.
    Jostein Gaarder  --  Sophie's World
  • pious = religious
  • The Vatican is made up of deeply pious men
    Dan Brown  --  The Da Vinci Code
  • pious = religious
  • For a pious man, especially for a Quaker, he was certainly rather hard-hearted, to say the least.
    Herman Melville  --  Moby Dick
pious = religious

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Comprehensive Dictionary (Oxford® US)Dictionary list — Onelook.com®
2  —as in:
a pious hypocrite
Definition self-righteous (acting as though one is, or believing one is highly moral when it is not true)
  • He was another pious slave owner who treated his slaves mercilessly.
pious = self-righteous (acting as though one is, or believing one is highly moral when it is not true)
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • I am tired of listening to the pious words of someone who is so cruel.
  • pious = self-righteous (sounding highly moral when it is not true)
  • ...you're beginning to give off a little stink of piousness.
    J.D. Salinger  --  Franny and Zooey
  • piousness = self-righteousness or a holier-than-thou attitude
    (Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means state or degree of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
  • By next morning Grandpa had found a way to thumb his nose at the whole Bang town, so pious and hypocritical:
    Olive Ann Burns  --  Cold Sassy Tree
  • pious = self-righteous (acting as though highly moral when it is not true)
  • —We are oft to blame in this,— 'tis too much prov'd,—that with devotion's visage And pious action we do sugar o'er The Devil himself.
    William Shakespeare  --  Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
  • pious = appearing highly religious and moral even though it's not true
  • He alleged that he was a licensed pharmacist but he so mangled prescriptions that Martin burst into the store and addressed him piously.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Arrowsmith
  • piously = in a self-righteous or holier-than-thou manner
  • It is the pious slave-breeder devoting the proceeds of every tenth slave to buy a Sunday's liberty for the rest.
    Henry David Thoreau  --  Walden
  • pious = self-righteous (believing oneself to be highly moral when it is not true)
  • Pious people have always gotten on my nerves.
    Sue Monk Kidd  --  The Secret Life of Bees
  • pious = self-righteous or acting holier-than-thou
  • I can stand most any talk o' yourn but your pious talk,—that kills me right up.  ... —it's clean, sheer, dog meanness, wanting to cheat the devil and save your own skin;
    Harriet Beecher Stowe  --  Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • pious = appearing highly religious and moral even though it's not true
  • He didn't know anything about me or the day I was born or he'd never say such a foolish thing, sitting there so piously at his kitchen table, sounding for all the world like a Methodist preacher.
    Katherine Paterson  --  Jacob Have I Loved
piously = in a self-righteous or holier-than-thou manner

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Comprehensive Dictionary (Oxford® US)Dictionary list — Onelook.com®
3  —as in:
cling to the pious hope
Definition (describing a hope or wish as) sincere, but highly unlikely
  • She is clinging to the pious hope that everyone will just start to get along.
pious = sincerely felt, but highly unlikely
Other Uses (with this meaning)
  • When she says "Cheaters never prosper," she is voicing a pious hope rather than a law of nature.
  • pious = sincerely felt, but highly unlikely
  • In November 1510, on behalf of seven Augustinian monasteries, he [Luther] made a visit to Rome, where he performed the religious duties customary for a pious visitor and was shocked by the worldliness of the Roman clergy.
    Martin Luther - MSN Encarta  --  http://encarta.msn.com/text_761570003___0/Martin_Luther.html (retrieved 05/21/06)
  • We may all join in that pious hope, but it is doubtful whether...
    Virginia Woolf  --  A Room of One's Own
  • pious = sincere, but highly unlikely
  • They danced hand in hand about the living-room of the fraternity, piously assuring one another, "He'll use it—it's all right—he'll get through or get hanged!"
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Arrowsmith
  • piously = clinging to a sincere wish that is highly unlikely
  • Pious [Orthodox] Jews wear a head covering at all times, recognizing God's constant presence.
    Judaism - MSN Encarta  --  http://encarta.msn.com/text_761556154___0/Judaism.html (retrieved 05/21/06)
  • Pious harpooners never make good voyagers—it takes the shark out of 'em;
    Melville, Herman  --  Moby Dick
  • It was his custom, too, as it has been that of many other pious Puritans, to fast—not however, like them, in order to purify the body, and render it the fitter medium of celestial illumination—but rigorously, and until his knees trembled beneath him, as an act of penance.
    Hawthorne, Nathaniel  --  The Scarlet Letter

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Comprehensive Dictionary (Oxford® US)Dictionary list — Onelook.com®
Less commonly:
Much more rarely, piety can refer to devotion or faithfulness as Proust used it in the book, Swann's Way: "...but when, as had befallen me, such an anguish possesses one's soul before Love has yet entered into one's life, then it must drift, awaiting Love's coming, vague and free, without precise attachment, at the disposal of one sentiment to-day, of another to-morrow, of filial piety or affection for a comrade."
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