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 At that point, his apostasy would become irretrievably public. Larissa Macfarquhar, The New Yorker, "When One Parent Leaves a Hasidic Community, What Happens to the Kids?," 30 Nov. 2020 By contrast, Fox’s opinion side, with the exception of occasional apostasy, largely earns high marks. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "How Newsmax Became Trump TV," 24 Nov. 2020 Gilliam’s qualified apostasy, with a nod to the space-altering aesthetics of Minimalism, was widely noticed but, taking place outside New York, proved poorly situated and timed. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "How to Read Sam Gilliam’s Formalism," 9 Nov. 2020 Before there were killings over apostasy charges, there were public debates between secular and religious Muslim thinkers, attended by hundreds. Kim Ghattas, The Atlantic, "Lessons From a Place Where the Center Ground is Gone," 1 Nov. 2020 Abdulbari announced other changes, such as no longer requiring women to obtain a permit from their male members for travel with their children, and renouncing Islam – known as apostasy – will no longer result in the death penalty. Fox News, "Sudan moves to repeal some Islamist laws after 30 years in place," 13 July 2020 Sudan will also decriminalize apostasy and ban FGM, a practice that typically involves the partial or total removal of the external genitalia of girls and women. Washington Post, "World Digest: July 12, 2020," 12 July 2020 So did his predecessor, Lester B. Pearson, who was rewarded for his apostasy with a physical attack at Camp David by Lyndon Johnson, who shook the Nobel Peace Prize winner by the shoulders. David M. Shribman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: Justin Trudeau's refusal to travel to the U.S. to meet Trump was a pointed rebuke," 8 July 2020 This kind of apostasy is rare in presidential politics, but that gives testimonials like Miller’s maximum credibility. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Revolt of the Center-Right," 8 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about apostasy

Time Traveler for apostasy

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for apostasy

Last Updated

12 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Apostasy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apostasy. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on apostasy

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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