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Arab Kneeling in Prayer (c. 1883) by Charles Bargue, from the collection of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, USA

worship +‎ -ful.



Examples (in the name of a livery company; sense 2)

The Worshipful Company of Mercers
The Worshipful Company of Scriveners
The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers

worshipful (comparative more worshipful, superlative most worshipful)

  1. Tending to worship; showing reverence.
    • 1593, Tho[mas] Nashe, “The Foure Letters Confuted”, in The Apologie of Pierce Pennilesse. Or, Strange Newes, of the Intercepting Certaine Letters: [], Printed at London: By Iohn Danter, [], OCLC 222196160; republished as John Payne Collier, editor, Strange Newes, of the Intercepting Certaine Letters [] (Miscellaneous Tracts; Temp. Eliz. and Jac. I), [London: s.n., 1870], OCLC 906587369, page 30:
      [H]owe Dorbell comes to bee doctour none aſks, but doctour hee muſt bee to make him right worſhipfull.
    • 1934 November, Theodor Haecker; A. W. Wheen, transl., “Fate”, in Virgil, Father of the West (Essays in Order; no. 14), London: Sheed & Ward, OCLC 753095599, page 91:
      But the Stoics and the poet Virgil came near to the Christian belief that God is light, and everlasting light. And is not light also 'mystery'? Yes, unfathomable, worshipful! Lumen adorabile!
    • 1957, C[harles] A[rthur] Campbell, “Lecture XI: The Concept of Religion”, in On Selfhood and Godhood: The Gifford Lectures Delivered at the University of St. Andrews during Sessions 1953–54 and 1954–55 Revised and Expanded (Muirhead Library of Philosophy; 90), London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd; New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company, OCLC 301455795; reprinted as On Selfhood and Godhood (Philosophy of Religion; 2), London: Routledge, 2002, →ISBN, part 2, second course (On Goodhood), paragraph 6, page 241:
      The worshipful, then, whatever else it may be, is something mysterious and supernatural. But of course the converse is not true. What is mysterious or supernatural need not be worshipful.
    • 2017, James C. Howell, “Worship and being Worshipful”, in Worshipful: Living Sunday Morning All Week, Eugene, Or.: Cascade Books, Wipf and Stock, →ISBN, page 2:
      We do want to worship in a worshipful way, not just going through the motions, being entertained, or catching up with friends, but "in spirit and in truth, lost in wonder, love and praise." And then when we're not in church, we really long to live a worshipful life, to discover the comforts and challenges of God out in the real world, []
  2. (chiefly Britain) Used as respectful form of address for a person or body of persons, especially in the name of a livery company. For example, Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Orange Order in Ireland.
    • 1404, Sharon Turner, “Specimens of the Progress of the English Language and Prose Composition, from the Writings or Speeches of the Various Classes of Society”, in The History of England during the Middle Ages. [...] In Four Volumes, volume IV (Containing the Conclusion of the Literary History of England), 5th edition, London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, published 1853, OCLC 21580556, footnote 36, page 566:
      To my most dredfull and Sovereigne lige Lord, I youre humble lige beseche to yowre Hyness to have in remembrance my comyng to yowre worshipful presence into York of my free will, []
    • 1769 December 15, John Nicholl, comp., Some Account of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. Compiled, from Their Own Records and Other Authentic Sources of Information, London: John Bowyer Nichols and Son, published 1851, OCLC 913284415, page 383:
      At a Common Council, held in the Chamber of the Guildhall of the city of London, on Friday the 15th day of December, 1769, it was ordered, that the thanks of this Court be given to the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers for their generosity in giving up part of their ground on Snow Hill for the benefit of the public highway.
    • 1791 February, “Monthly Catalogue, for February, 1791. [Art. 49. The Philosophy of Masons. In Several Epistles from Egypt to a Nobleman. 12mo. pp. 263. 3s. sewed. Ridgway. 1790. (book review)”, in The Monthly Review; or, Literary Journal, Enlarged, volume IV, London: Printed for R[alph] Griffiths; and sold by T. Becket, in Pall Mall, OCLC 901376714, page 235:
      The writer of theſe epiſtles is ſome philoſopher of the once well known Peter Annett's ſchool; who, wiſhing, as we may conclude, to try a revival of his tenets, without delivering them in his own proper character, has done the worſhipful fraternity of Free Maſons, the honour of imputing them to an ancient colony of the brethren, which he has diſcovered in a fertile ſpot, inſulated in the remote boſom of the ſandy deſerts of Africa.
    • 1823 December 23 (indicated as 1824), [Walter Scott], “Theatricals”, in St Ronan’s Well. [...] In Three Volumes, volume II, Edinburgh: Printed [by James Ballantyne and Co.] for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., OCLC 79179534, page 191:
      [] Mowbray, as Duke Theseus, stepped before the screen, and announcing the conclusion of the dramatic pictures which they had had the honour to present before the worshipful company, thanked the spectators for the very favourable reception which they have afforded; []
    • 1875 May 7, “[Banquet of May 7, 1875]”, in The Worshipful Company of Needlemakers of the City of London. With a List of the Court of Assistants and Livery, [London]: [The Company] offices: 1 Church Court, Clement's Lane, E.C., published 1876, OCLC 499822852, page 78:
      Your Worshipful Master has been pleased to speak of me as possessing some powers of speech, but (added his lordship in tones of deep emotion) I have none.



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worshipful (plural worshipfuls)

  1. (obsolete) One who is respected or worshipped.
    • 1776, [Thomas Roch], Charters Destructive to Liberty and Property: Demonstrated by the Principles and Practices of Corporation Patriots, London: Sold by S. Crowder in Pater-noster-Row, OCLC 731568309, pages 19–20:
      I was attended to the Guild-hall by the mayor, the chamberlain and ſome more worſhipfuls; but when I entered the grand magazine of imposition, I was prejudiced in favour of their modeſty in concealing of it—the floor being ſtrewed with fragments of obſolete records, cobwebs and ſpiders in all quarters, []
    • 1889 June, Edwin Lassetter Bynner, “The Begum’s Daughter”, in The Atlantic Monthly. A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics, volume LXIII, number CCCLXXX, Boston, Mass.; New York, N.Y.: Houghton, Mifflin and Company; The Riverside Press, Cambridge [Mass.], OCLC 955800350, chapter V, page 832, column 2:
      Damn the worshipful lady, and all other worshipfuls! There'll be no more worshipfuls here! I'll give way to no one before my own shop!
    • 1892, James Brighouse, “The Unfolding of the Scroll of Time. The Third Year of God.”, in The Voice of the Seventh Angel, Proclaiming the End of Time! the Resurrection of the Dead! the Day of Final Judgment! and the Rule of Righteousness and Peace!, volume I (Five Parts), South Cottonwood, Ut.: [s.n.], OCLC 615183350, part IV, page 10:
      Again there are too many lawyers and doctors and priests and elders and bishops and cardinals and worshipfuls, and we shall now proclaim that the time has come for the wise to cast these idols to the moles and bats, []