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Respective vs. Respected: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on September 28, 2023
"Respective" refers to individual or specific items in a sequence, while "Respected" means held in esteem or honor.

Key Differences

Respective typically functions as an adjective that indicates a correspondence between two or more lists. For instance, in a list of names and a list of roles, each name has its "respective" role. On the other hand, Respected is an adjective that denotes admiration or high regard for someone or something due to their qualities or achievements.
In sentences, when we see the word Respective, we often see it used to make clear a one-to-one relationship between two sets of things. Respected, however, gives information about the esteem or value that someone or something has in the eyes of others.
Another distinction is in their etymology. Respective originates from the Latin word 'respectivus' meaning 'relative'. Respected, meanwhile, is derived from the Latin word 'respectus', meaning 'regard' or 'consideration'.
Both words play vital roles in English, but they aren't interchangeable. While "students returned to their respective homes" indicates each student went to their own home, saying a "well-respected teacher" means the teacher is held in high esteem.
In summation, Respective is about individualized or separate correspondences, and Respected is about admiration and honor.

Comparison Chart


Refers to individual items in a sequence
Denotes admiration or esteem


Often paired with lists or sequences
Describes someone/something held in high regard


From Latin 'respectivus' meaning 'relative'
From Latin 'respectus' meaning 'regard'


Descriptive adjective for sequence correspondence
Descriptive adjective for admiration


Individual, particular
Esteemed, honored, revered

Respective and Respected Definitions


Pertaining individually or severally
They received their respective assignments.


Held in esteem or honor
She is a respected member of the community.


Specific to each individual
They went to their respective homes.


Looked up to because of character or position
Respected elders often give advice.


Relating to two or more persons or things regarded individually; particular
Successful in their respective fields.


Regarded with admiration
He is a respected authority on the subject.


Relating to particular persons or things, each to each; particular; own.
They returned to their respective places of abode.


Given deference or treated with consideration
Respected opinions should not be ignored.


(obsolete) Noticing with attention; careful; wary.


Having an established reputation
He's a respected author in his field.


(obsolete) Looking toward; having reference to; relative, not absolute.
The respective connections of society


A feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard; esteem
I have great respect for your work.


(obsolete) Fitted to awaken respect.


The state of being regarded with honor or esteem
A leader held in the greatest respect.


(obsolete) Rendering respect; respectful; regardful.


Consideration or appreciation
Can't you at least give me some respect?.


Noticing with attention; hence, careful; wary; considerate.
If you look upon the church of England with a respective eye, you can not . . . refuse this charge.


Due regard for something considered important or authoritative
Respect for the law.


Looking towardl having reference to; relative, not absolute; as, the respective connections of society.


A particular aspect, feature, or detail
In many respects this is an important decision.


Relating to particular persons or things, each to each; particular; own; as, they returned to their respective places of abode.


Usage Problem Relation; reference. See Usage Note at regard.


Fitted to awaken respect.


To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem or admire
All the other scholars respect her.


Rendering respect; respectful; regardful.
With respective shame, rose, took us by the hands.
With thy equals familiar, yet respective.


To avoid interfering with or intruding upon
Please respect my privacy.


Considered individually;
The respective club members
Specialists in their several fields
The various reports all agreed


To avoid violating
I respected the speed limit throughout the trip.


Belonging separately to each
They answered their respective questions.


To relate or refer to; concern
As respects the rights of land owners, this law says nothing.


Distinct for each listed
The teams played their respective matches.


Deserving of respect; due special honor or appreciation.
He was a respected jurist and his death will be a loss to the profession.


Relating to particular things or people in a sequence
They were seated in their respective age order.


Simple past tense and past participle of respect


Receiving deferential regard;
A respected family


Having or worthy of pride;
Redoubtable scholar of the Renaissance
Born of a redoubtable family


Can "respective" and "respected" be used interchangeably?

No, they have different meanings and cannot replace each other in sentences.

When should I use "respective"?

Use "respective" when discussing individual items in relation to another set.

Is "respected" always about people?

No, it can refer to any entity held in high regard, including institutions or ideas.

Is "respected" about a sequence or order?

No, "respected" describes someone or something held in esteem or honor.

Can an inanimate object be "respected"?

Yes, like "a respected institution" or "a respected tradition."

How does "respected" differ from "respectful"?

"Respected" means held in esteem, while "respectful" means showing respect.

What does "respective" typically indicate?

"Respective" indicates a correspondence between items in sequences.

Does "respective" only apply to people?

No, "respective" can apply to any items in a sequence, whether people, places, or things.

What's a synonym for "respective"?

A synonym might be "individual" or "specific."

What's a synonym for "respected"?

A synonym could be "honored" or "revered."

What's the opposite of "respected"?

The opposite might be "disrespected" or "unrespected."

Can you give an example using both "respective" and "respected"?

The two respected professors returned to their respective universities.

Can "respective" be used for two things?

Yes, like "The cat and dog ate their respective meals."

Can a thing be "respective"?

Not on its own. "Respective" requires a reference, e.g., "their respective roles."

Is a "respected person" necessarily famous?

No, they might be admired in smaller circles without being widely known.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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