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File:Ronald and Nancy Reagan salute the flag.jpg

Ronald and Nancy Reagan salute the American flag aboard the battleship USS Iowa, in order to demonstrate respect for the flag and the nation.


Muslim practitioners performing Sajdah or Sujud, in order to demonstrate devotion, a kind of respect they believe is due to God.

Respect denotes both a positive feeling of esteem for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., "I have great respect for her judgment"). It can also be conduct in accord with a specific ethic of respect. Rude conduct is usually considered to indicate a lack of respect, disrespect, where as actions that honor somebody or something indicate respect.

Specific ethics of respect are of fundamental importance to various cultures. Respect for tradition and legitimate authority is identified by Jonathan Haidt as one of five fundamental moral values shared to a greater or lesser degree by different societies and individuals.[1]

Respect should not be confused with tolerance, since tolerance doesn't necessarily imply any positive feeling, and is incompatible with contempt, which is the opposite of respect.

Kinds of Respect

Respect for Superiors

Respect, and outward signs of respect, are used in hierarchical organizations to reinforce values of obedience and submission.

Military organizations maintain discipline by requiring respect from members. For example, in the United States armed forces, conspicuous contempt toward officials is a punishable offense. The system of military rank relies on subordinates respecting their superiors.

Respect for and loyalty to one's lord is an important part of the ethics of Chivalry and Bushido.

Organized crime syndicates such as the Mafia and the Yakuza also rely on an ethic of respect for superiors.

Respect for Parents and the Elderly

In many societies, people are expected to be respectful of their parents and other elders. In Confucianism, filial piety is the virtue of showing respect to ones' parents and ancestors. In most societies, this kind of respect towards people who are older is expressed through a certain form of language different from the one used when addressing peers.

Respect for National Societies

Most societies expect members to be patriotic, showing respect to the nation as a whole.

This respect is sometimes extended to concrete symbols of the nation, such as flags. Respect for the Indian, Pakistani and other countrys' flags is shown by adhering to a list of rules as to its display: it must not be flown in the dark, it must not be allowed to become ragged, and so on.

Respect in Religion

Many religions require specific gestures of respect towards religious figures and religious artifacts. Examples include genuflection towards bishops or consecrated hosts in the Catholic church, and zemnoy poklon in the Eastern Orthodox church.

Respect for Other Cultures

Intercultural competence is an ethic of respecting many different cultures, usually in accordance with each culture's specific notions of respect.

Respect in the Medical Field

Is the acceptance of an individual as is, in a nonjudgmental manner... a integral component of the nurse-client relationship. Means caring for the clients whose value system may differ greatly from that of the nurse. To show respect, the nurse must not react with shock, surprise, or disapproval toward a client's lifestyle, dress, or behaviors. The nurse respects the client's choices and actions yet sets limits on unhealthy or undesirable behavior.[2]

Signs of Respect


Respect is shown in many languages by following specific grammatical conventions, especially in referring to individuals.

An honorific is a word or expression (often a pronoun) that conveys respect when used in addressing or referring to a person. Typically honorifics are used for second and third persons; use for first person is less common. Some languages have anti-honorific or despective first person forms (meaning something like "your most humble servant" or "this unworthy person") whose effect is to enhance the relative honor accorded a second or third person.

A Style (manner of address) is a legal, official, or recognized title which by tradition or law precedes a reference to a person who holds a post, or which is used to refer to the political office itself. Styles are particularly associated with monarchies, where they may be used by a wife of an office holder or of a prince of the blood, for the duration of their marriage. They are also almost universally used for presidents in republics and in many countries for members of legislative bodies, higher-ranking judges and senior constitutional office holders. Leading religious figures also have styles.

Honorific speech is a more general term encompassing any special grammatical rules that indicate more respect on the part of the speaker. For example, in Japanese, all verbs are conjugated differently in the honorific mode, even when they are not directly related to a figure of respect.


  1. Haidt, Jonathan; Jesse Graham (2007). "When Morality Opposes Justice: Conservatives Have Moral Intuitions That Liberals May Not Recognize" (PDF). Social Justice Research 20 (1): 98–116. doi:10.1007/s11211-007-0034-z. Retrieved 2008-12-14.[dead link]
  2. Lois Elain White, Gena Duncan, Wendy Baumle (2010). Foundations of Nursing, 3rd Edition. Florence, KY USA: Delmar Cengage Learning. pp. p. 1536. ISBN 9781428317734.

External links

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