ab·​bot | \ ˈa-bət How to pronounce abbot (audio) \

Definition of abbot

: the superior of a monastery for men

Examples of abbot in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The defrocked monk, identified by his monastic name of Isaiah, confessed to collaborating with others to kill Bishop Epiphanius, abbot of St. Macarius Monastery, prosecutors said. Fox News, "Egypt prosecutors order ex-monk detained over abbot death," 11 Aug. 2018 Japan Nancy CraftEsprit Travel & ToursShe helps open doors to artists, chefs, craftspeople, musicians, Shinto priests, and Buddhist abbots. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "2018 Top Travel Specialists We Trust," 19 Oct. 2018 The former abbot, subsequently stripped of his monastic rank, managed to evade capture and flee the country. George Styllis, Washington Post, "Thai crackdown targets Buddhist monks amid accusations of embezzlement and fraud," 24 June 2018 This was a condition from Father Samuel, its French abbot, to help maintain his order's privacy, because, while the skincare products his brothers produce may be quite modern, the way of life here is anything but. Fiorella Valdesolo, Town & Country, "Fresh's Crème Ancienne is Handmade by Monks in a Czech Monastary," 1 Nov. 2016 Tohaku’s patrons included abbots of important Kyoto temples; the leading tea master, Sen no Rikyu; and chief minister Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Lee Lawrence, WSJ, "‘A Giant Leap: The Transformation of Hasegawa Tohaku’ Review," 25 Apr. 2018 But the basilica’s abbot stopped the preliminary work for their exhumation for nearly two years by appealing the judge’s decision, until top Catholic Church authorities ordered him earlier this year to comply with the judge’s ruling. Washington Post, "Spain resumes controversial exhumations near Franco’s tomb," 23 Apr. 2018 After decades of contented toil as an abbot and gardener, the father of genetics died in relative obscurity. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "‘The Art of the Wasted Day’ Review: Fallen Idylls," 13 Apr. 2018 Wirathu, the abbot of the Masoeyein monastery in Mandalay, has taken a leading role in spreading the anti-Muslim sentiment among Myanmar’s Buddhist majority that has underpinned the army’s campaign against the ethnic Rohingya minority. James Hookway, WSJ, "Buddhist Leader Spreads Hatred of Muslims in Myanmar," 12 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abbot.' 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 abbot

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for abbot

Middle English abbot, abbod, going back to Old English, borrowed from Late Latin abbāt-, abbās, borrowed from Late Greek abbâs (also, a title of respect given to monks), borrowed from Aramaic abbā "father"

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The first known use of abbot was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for abbot



English Language Learners Definition of abbot

: a man who is the head of a monastery


ab·​bot | \ ˈa-bət How to pronounce abbot (audio) \

Kids Definition of abbot

: the head of an abbey for men

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More from Merriam-Webster on abbot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abbot

Spanish Central: Translation of abbot

Nglish: Translation of abbot for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on abbot

What made you want to look up abbot? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to mark by some ceremony or observation

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