1580s, "worthy of notice or observation" (a sense now obsolete); 1590s, "worthy of esteem by reason of inherent qualities;" see respect (v.) + -able.
Of persons, "having an honest reputation" from 1755; the sense of "moderately well-to-do and deserving respect for morality; occupying a fairly good position in society" is by 1800. From 1755 as "considerable in size or number;" from 1775 as "not too big, tolerable, fair, mediocre." Related: Respectably.
updated on July 21, 2021
Dictionary entries near respectable