apos·​ta·​sy ə-ˈpä-stə-sē How to pronounce apostasy (audio)
plural apostasies
: an act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith
: abandonment of a previous loyalty : defection

Examples of apostasy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This is the apostasy of the age, refusing to give these spiritually lost characters their proper complexity. Armond White, National Review, 8 May 2024 The field has spent their resources mainly to bring Braun down a peg and promote their candidacies, in particular seizing upon comments Braun made in 2020 following the police murder of George Floyd in which the senator appeared supportive of Black Lives Matter, a conservative apostasy. Nathaniel Rakich, ABC News, 6 May 2024 For some Democrats, Mr. Lieberman’s support of McCain two years later went beyond independence to apostasy. Michael H. Brown, Washington Post, 27 Mar. 2024 For religious Jews, the establishment of a state prior to the arrival of the Messiah was an apostasy. Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker, 15 Feb. 2024 Betrayal, vengeance, invective, and apostasy: these are constants in the turmoil and carnival of American political history. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 10 Dec. 2023 In a political party that has evolved into a personality cult, her apostasy resides in her refusal to worship its leader and in her defense of the Constitution. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 10 Dec. 2023 Medieval Islamic laws, such as capital punishment for apostasy, are used to give an appearance of authoritative piety in present times. Iqbal Akhtar, The Conversation, 25 July 2023 Built largely around vignettes, Bilal’s stories depict characters who serve as sensitive guides to matters of apostasy, racial prejudice, and gender roles. Condé Nast, The New Yorker, 21 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'apostasy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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 cause to stand, place") + -sis -sis — more at assist entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near apostasy

Cite this Entry

“Apostasy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apostasy. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


apos·​ta·​sy ə-ˈpäs-tə-sē How to pronounce apostasy (audio)
plural apostasies
: a giving up of a religious faith or a previous loyalty
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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