ab·​bey | \ˈa-bē \
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 \

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

With space at a premium, the abbey stopped conducting burials in the early part of the last century, though this was not a completely smooth process. Stephen Castle, New York Times, "Stephen Hawking Enters ‘Britain’s Valhalla,’ Where Space Is Tight," 15 June 2018 The architects Henri Tauzin and Louis-Hippolyte Boileau, marquee names in Paris at the time, were hired for the project and chose to build on the remains of an abbey and its gardens that neighbored Le Bon Marche. New York Times, "An Enduring Paris Hotel in a New Light," 1 June 2018 The basilica is run by Benedictine priests who live in an adjacent abbey. Raphael Minder, New York Times, "Plan to Exhume Franco Renews Spain’s Wrestle With History," 7 July 2018 Afterward, the bride and groom left the abbey for a wedding breakfast at Buckingham Palace. Chanel Vargas, Town & Country, "The Story of Queen Elizabeth's Wedding Day," 4 Dec. 2017 And Britain’s largest designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is blessed with an abundance of Roman sites, abbeys, gardens and castles. New York Times, "36 Hours in the Cotswolds," 17 May 2018 The hilltop abbey, whose origins date to the 10th century, and surrounding sites attract more than 2 million visitors every year. Sheila Norman-culp, The Seattle Times, "Tourists at iconic French abbey evacuated after threat," 22 Apr. 2018 The former 14th century monastery is stunningly renovated, and its pan-Asian eatery Spices offers plush outdoor lounge seating and a zen-like ambiance, protected from street sounds thanks to tall abbey walls. Kat Odell, Vogue, "Where to Find the Fruits of Prague’s Food Revolution," 7 July 2018 By then the abbey’s association with literary figures — the genesis of its Poets’ Corner — had begun to take hold. New York Times,, "Hawking laid to rest in Westminster Abbey," 15 June 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

3 Nov 2018

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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 \
plural abbeys

Kids Definition of abbey

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

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Comments on abbey

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playful or foolish behavior

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