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

Noun the monks in the abbey grow all their own vegetables
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Top picks include a trip to the puffin colony on Skomer and a visit to the working Cistercian abbey on holy Caldey Island. Jonathan Thompson, Travel + Leisure, "10 Amazing National Parks in the UK for Gorgeous Views, Wildlife, and Unforgettable Hikes," 14 Mar. 2021 The beer will be the same but the abbey’s coat of arms will replace the Authentic Trappist Product logo. James Marson, WSJ, "Trappist Beer Needs Trappist Monks to Brew It, but the Vocation Is Dwindling," 10 Mar. 2021 Those ruins left their creepy imprint on Bram Stoker, who saw them on a visit in 1890 and set several scenes from his Dracula in the abbey. Joshua Levine, Travel + Leisure, "Enjoy Pub Life, Sculpture Parks, and Classic Estates on a Scenic Trip Through Yorkshire, England," 7 Mar. 2021 Hugeburc’s cipher, stitched into the join between two texts, has provided Watt an invitation to look closely at both the spaces between texts and the spaces around them, whether the manuscript page or the abbey environment. Mary Wellesley, The New York Review of Books, "Love, Ecgburg," 6 Oct. 2020 Every year of his childhood, Zumthor took part in a procession from the village church to the abbey, leaving with hundreds of other pilgrims before dawn and walking through the fields, carrying an enormous cross. Dana Goodyear, The New Yorker, "The Iconoclast Remaking Los Angeles’s Most Important Museum," 5 Oct. 2020 Beamore was a monastic grange farm owned by the Cistercian abbey of Beaubec in Normandy. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Sourdough Bread Oven, ‘Air Freshener’ Found at Medieval Irish Monastery," 23 Sep. 2020 From October, the abbey grounds will be open to the public six days a week. New York Times, "A Stained-Glass Gift, From God and Gerhard Richter," 18 Sep. 2020 Through the abbey’s base and up a short hill is Da Laura. Leslie Pariseau, Saveur, "Journey to the Place Where Pesto Was Born," 18 Sep. 2017

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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Learn More about abbey

Time Traveler for abbey

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for abbey

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abbey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

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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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