a. Earnestly compliant in the observance of religion; reverent or devout: a pious nun.
b. Showing or characterized by religious devotion: pious observance.
c. Expressive of or used in religious devotion; devotional: pious readings.
a. Done for the benefit of others or with the intention of encouraging good: practicers of the noble lie and the pious fraud.
b. Sincere but wishful or far-fetched: a pious hope that the new method will work.
3. Self-righteous or sanctimonious: pious denunciations of sexual harassment.
4. Archaic Professing or exhibiting traditional morality; dutiful.
[From Latin pius, dutiful.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.