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

Thomas Pitkerro, a Scottish proctor, has come to England from the papal court at Avignon to carry out a survey of the abbey at Malmesbury. The Economist, "Love in the time of the Black Death," 29 Aug. 2019 Here’s one: The royal abbey upon which it was built dates to the year 506. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Moncler and MyTheresa Host a Sunset Dinner in Paris to Celebrate Simone Rocha," 8 July 2019 Head out on an orientation walk, then enjoy free time to wander winding lanes and cobbled streets, climbing from the base of the mountain to its crowning medieval abbey. National Geographic, "France Family Journey: From Paris to Normandy and Beyond," 17 June 2019 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

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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Statistics for abbey

Last Updated

22 Sep 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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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