apos·​ta·​sy | \ ə-ˈpä-stə-sē How to pronounce apostasy (audio) \
plural apostasies

Definition of apostasy

1 : an act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith
2 : abandonment of a previous loyalty : defection

Examples of apostasy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Hamula had been serving as a member of The First Quorum of the Seventy, one of church’s highest order of priests, and his release is not because of apostasy, or abandonment of religious beliefs, the church says. CNN, 19 Aug. 2021 Raif Badawi dared to write such things in Saudi Arabia — including exercising his own freedom, asking questions about faith, and challenging extremism — so he was imprisoned for apostasy for ten years. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, 19 July 2021 Conversion from Islam is considered apostasy, and as such, punishable by death. Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab, Forbes, 5 July 2021 Overwhelmingly, most apostasy charges were leveled at polygamists. The Salt Lake Tribune, 12 June 2021 Most will probably leave the Catholic Church and end up in situations of apostasy and schism. Fr. Goran Jovicic, National Review, 13 June 2021 In practice, though, Oman says, very few cases of apostasy over the years have included progressive dissent. The Salt Lake Tribune, 12 June 2021 The cost for her political apostasy has become ever more clear in recent days. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 5 May 2021 At that point, his apostasy would become irretrievably public. Larissa Macfarquhar, The New Yorker, 30 Nov. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for apostasy

Middle English apostasie, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Late Latin apostasia, borrowed from Greek apostasía "defection, revolt, (Septuagint) rebellion against God" (Late Greek, "defection, apostasy"), variant (with -ia -ia entry 1) of apóstasis, from aposta-, variant stem of aphístamai, aphístasthai "to stand away from, keep aloof from, revolt," middle voice of aphístēmi, aphistánai "to put away, remove, cause to revolt" (from aph-, assimilated variant of apo- apo- + histánai "to set, make stand") + -sis -sis — more at stand entry 1

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

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Last Updated

8 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apostasy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apostasy. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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