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

Definition of abbey

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

Examples of abbey in a Sentence

the monks in the abbey grow all their own vegetables
Recent Examples on the Web The abbey was founded by Cistercian monks who traveled from France in the 12th century. New York Times, 27 Apr. 2022 Located in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, the ruins at Whitby Abbey consist of a monastery built in the 600s that later became a 13th century Benedictine abbey. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 24 Apr. 2022 Commonwealth Day, always held at the abbey, celebrates the 54 member states of the Commonwealth, most of them former British Empire colonies. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, 11 Mar. 2022 There was no one who contended or cried out, or drew attention to what was going on, but by degrees the woody swamp became a hermitage, a religious house, a farm, an abbey, a village, a seminary, a school of learning, and a city. Andrew Doran, National Review, 3 Mar. 2022 Medieval chronicles relate that the Emperor Charlemagne, returning from Spain, was served a piece of Roquefort at an abbey in the South of France. Joshua Levine, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Nov. 2021 In 1127, the Savignac monks constructed a new abbey on the land. Jane Recker, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Feb. 2022 The abbey where she was buried, now in east-central France, was sacked during the French Revolution. Shelley Puhak, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Jan. 2022 Inside the 12,761 square-foot-home there are floor-to-ceiling windows, custom cabinetry and reclaimed French abbey wood floors. Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, 4 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

5 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Abbey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for abbey


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

Abbey biographical name

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

Definition of Abbey

Edwin Austin 1852–1911 American painter and illustrator

More from Merriam-Webster on abbey

Nglish: Translation of abbey for Spanish Speakers

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


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