ab·​bey | \ ˈa-bē How to pronounce abbey (audio) \
plural abbeys

Definition of abbey

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a monastery ruled by an abbot
b : a convent ruled by an abbess
2 : an abbey church


biographical name
Ab·​bey | \ ˈa-bē How to pronounce Abbey (audio) \

Definition of Abbey (Entry 2 of 2)

Edwin Austin 1852–1911 American painter and illustrator

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Examples of abbey in a Sentence


the monks in the abbey grow all their own vegetables

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Benedictine monks had the initial idea to launch a winery here, though the abbey itself is now closed and the winery is run by Larry Oddo, who moved to Cañon City from New York City in 2005. Sarah Kuta, The Know, "As the Royal Gorge turns 90, now is the time to visit Cañon City," 27 July 2019 Draft a piece of historical fiction on monks who once lived at Clonmacnoise abbey, capture telling details in a travel narrative about your time in Galway, or set a poem in the Aran Islands’ lunar-like landscape. National Geographic, "Ireland High School Expedition," 12 June 2019 And at a handful of these monasteries, including six abbeys in Belgium, the monks have been producing some of the best beer on the planet. Andrew Daniels, Popular Mechanics, "Trappist Monks Are Fighting to Save the Water in Their Sacred Beer," 2 May 2019 And of course people choose the side of the abbey and not the quarry. Andrew Daniels, Popular Mechanics, "Trappist Monks Are Fighting to Save the Water in Their Sacred Beer," 2 May 2019 When the Queen was seen walking through the doors of the abbey, Meghan (in white) was seen lowering herself into a curtsy, then Kate (in red) followed. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Curtsy to the Queen in Westminster Abbey," 11 Mar. 2019 The Museum of Fine Arts, in a former abbey on the Presqu’ile, has an impressive collection ranging from Egyptian antiquities to Impressionist paintings, and its inner courtyard is a pleasant place to take a peaceful break from city streets. Rick Steves' Europe, The Seattle Times, "Loving Lyon: France’s culinary capital is off the tourist path," 20 Feb. 2019 Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine, Valladolid, Spain A two-hour drive north of Madrid will get you to this massive converted Baroque-Romanesque abbey surrounded by vineyards. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Hotels in Europe: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 Through 1948, more than 60 Jews were buried in a cemetery on the monastery’s perimeter, next to one for the monks who served at the abbey. Emanuella Grinberg, Smithsonian, "When a Bavarian Monastery Provided a Home to Jewish Refugees," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abbey.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of abbey


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for abbey


Middle English abbeye, abbay, borrowed from Anglo-French abeie, abbaye, borrowed from Medieval Latin abbātia "abbacy, abbey," from Late Latin abbāt-, abbās abbot + Latin -ia -y entry 2

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Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for abbey

The first known use of abbey was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for abbey



English Language Learners Definition of abbey

: a monastery run by an abbot
: a convent run by an abbess
: a church that is connected to other buildings where monks or nuns live or once lived


ab·​bey | \ ˈa-bē How to pronounce abbey (audio) \
plural abbeys

Kids Definition of abbey

2 : a church that is connected to buildings where nuns or monks live

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More from Merriam-Webster on abbey

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abbey

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abbey

Spanish Central: Translation of abbey

Nglish: Translation of abbey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abbey for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about abbey

Comments on abbey

What made you want to look up abbey? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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