Synonyms: religious, devout, sanctimonious, reverent
Pious Sentence: Although she believed in God, she refused to be pious and never followed the conventional religious ceremonies or rituals.
Under The Lens: God Fearing, Religious, Devout, Pious, Sanctimonious and Reverent
All these words are associated with following religion.
Religious is the most general of these words. It can be used to describe a wide variety of people from those who follow the minimum obligations of their faith to those who follow all religious rituals strictly. More generally it can be used to describe anything pertaining to religion. Ex – He loves to read religious literature.
Devout and pious refer specifically to following religious customs. While devout suggests that the person follows religious customs due to devotion, pious may suggest that he does it merely for a show. Ex – He is a true devout and not a pious fraud like his brother.
Although sanctimonious originally meant saintly or holy, with time its meaning has taken a negative tone. Unlike pious which can have a positive tone, sanctimonious is always used to refer to someone who makes a hypocritical show of religious devotion. Ex – He felt that it was better to be an atheist than being sanctimonious.
Reverent has a positive tone like devout. It literally means to be deeply respectful and in our context, it applies to someone who follows his religious beliefs sincerely. Ex – The reverent man set an example of how one should follow one’s faith.