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

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of abbey in a Sentence

Noun the monks in the abbey grow all their own vegetables
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 The new building will allow visitors to enter the abbey through the Great West Door, which has historically been used only by monarchs and royal brides. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Lost Medieval Sacristy, Burial Grounds Unearthed at Westminster Abbey," 26 Aug. 2020 Da Laura Above the San Fruttuoso abbey, this tiny restaurant is known for its green lasagne and mussels marinara. Leslie Pariseau, Saveur, "Journey to the Place Where Pesto Was Born," 18 Sep. 2017 Forster claims in the biography that the media led the way in agitating for burial in the abbey. Leon Litvack, Smithsonian Magazine, "Even in Death, Charles Dickens Left Behind a Riveting Tale of Deceit," 5 Feb. 2020 The rocky stretch, on the Italian Riviera, is home to a 10th century abbey and a restaurant with truly outstanding handmade pasta, served in an appropriately beachy style—plastic tablecloths and paper plates. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "51 Things in Europe that Every Traveler Needs to Experience," 4 Aug. 2020 The abbey flourished, and from early on, included royal quarters for the monarch. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Queen Elizabeth's Royal Residence in Scotland, Has an Impressive History," 20 June 2020 The reader learns, for example, that Nigel the miller gave handsomely to the abbey. The Economist, "Craft from the past Leaf through the newly digitised “St Albans Benefactors’ Book”," 8 June 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about abbey

Time Traveler for abbey

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for abbey

Last Updated

25 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abbey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for abbey


How to pronounce Abbey (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!