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 Conservatives’ anger is eerily unrelated to the comprehensive apostasy from what was, three years ago, conservatism’s catechism. George Will, Twin Cities, "George Will: Weak political parties smooth the way for demagogues," 27 Oct. 2019 In most of these, apostasy is the only way to get out of paying. The Economist, "Why so many non-religious Europeans pay church taxes," 12 Sep. 2019 To that end, Ho and Oldham chide Willett for his apparent apostasy from the one true method of constitutional interpretation. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Conservative Judges Are Brawling Over Originalism," 22 Aug. 2019 The Business Roundtable’s apostasy got its start back in June of last year, when journalist Steven Pearlstein wrote a column in the Washington Post criticizing the group’s 1997 statement. Fortune, "America’s CEOs Seek a New Purpose for the Corporation," 19 Aug. 2019 Even more striking, support for the death penalty for apostasy does not depend on one’s formal education. Madiha Afzal, Washington Post, "Malala is building more schools in Pakistan. That’s not likely to reduce support for extremism.," 7 Apr. 2018 Roosevelt never held Smith’s apostasy against him, and FDR’s wartime leadership reconciled the two men. Edward Kosner, WSJ, "‘Frank and Al’ Review: A Friendship Forged in Albany," 25 Sep. 2018 As our research shows, charges of apostasy are a powerful tool for delineating group membership and assigning rights. Ian M. Hartshorn And Stacey Philbrick Yadav, Washington Post, "Here’s what happens when diplomats get involved in religious rhetoric," 11 Apr. 2018 More than 40 leading French chefs, winemakers, and cheese ripeners signed an open letter, published on Tuesday in the daily Libération, denouncing this apostasy and calling on President Emmanuel Macron to put a stop to it. Elian Peltier, New York Times, "Camembert Without Raw Milk? It’s Treason, Connoisseurs Cry," 16 May 2018

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, from Late Latin apostasia, from Greek, literally, revolt, from aphistasthai to revolt, from apo- + histasthai to stand — more at stand

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Statistics for apostasy

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for apostasy

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on apostasy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with apostasy

Spanish Central: Translation of apostasy

Nglish: Translation of apostasy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apostasy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about apostasy

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