aba·​ya ə-ˈbī-ə How to pronounce abaya (audio)
: a loose-fitting full-length robe worn by some Muslim women

Examples of abaya in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Blinken’s remarks came even as numerous Saudi women are being given decades-long prison sentences for what supporters say are minor offenses, such as failing to wear an abaya on social media or tweeting criticisms of the kingdom. Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2023 In the second car, Danielle Boyles, 27, a preschool teacher from South Africa, cowered under an abaya. Declan Walsh, New York Times, 5 May 2023 In December 2011 soldiers breaking up a protest were caught on camera dragging and stomping on a female protester, whose abaya was lifted to reveal her blue bra. Ursula Lindsey, The New York Review of Books, 9 Dec. 2022 This was no abaya, the traditional Muslim dress. Juliet MacUr, New York Times, 31 Aug. 2022 Nilab looked like a spy in her abaya, gloves that covered her tattoos and sunglasses. Juliet MacUr, New York Times, 31 Aug. 2022 Some Saudi women in larger cities still wear an abaya, but many forgo any kind of head cover. Felicia Campbell, Condé Nast Traveler, 4 Jan. 2022 Women cover their heads and wear the abaya, a long black gown. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 3 Dec. 2022 Women may choose to wear the head to toe covering called a burqa, or a cloth veil covering their face paired with a headscarf and long robe called an abaya, said Muhajir, the ministry of virtue and prevention of vice spokesman. Washington Post, 7 May 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abaya.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Arabic ʽabāya

First Known Use

1810, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of abaya was in 1810

Dictionary Entries Near abaya

Cite this Entry

“Abaya.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abaya. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

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