apos·​tate | \ə-ˈpäs-ˌtāt, -tət\

Definition of apostate 

: one who commits apostasy

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Other Words from apostate

apostate adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for apostate


defector, deserter, recreant, renegade



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Examples of apostate in a Sentence

an apostate from communism, he later became one of its harshest critics became an apostate to liberalism after he had gotten wealthy

Recent Examples on the Web

The insurgency gave birth to al-Qaida in Iraq, a local affiliate that pioneered the use of terrorist attacks on Shiite Muslims, regarded as apostates by Sunni extremists. Nabih Bulos, The Seattle Times, "Seventeen years after Sept. 11, al-Qaida may be stronger than ever," 10 Sep. 2018 And 4 percent declared that defectors — apostates — deserved more harm. Lilliana Mason, Washington Post, "Surprised by the anger toward McCain? Party loyalists can hate apostates as much as opponents.," 16 May 2018 Churches could be required to put apostates and atheists on their boards. Richard A. Epstein, WSJ, "Elizabeth Warren’s Corporate Illogic," 11 Sep. 2018 The radical Sunni Islamic state reviles Shiites as apostates. Fox News, "US Defense secretary makes surprise visit to war-weary Kabul," 7 Sep. 2018 Sunni extremists view Shiites as apostates, and have carried out scores of attacks over the past two decades that have killed thousands of them. Fox News, "Pakistani lawyer ends protest after army reassures Shiites," 2 May 2018 Their faith barred them from even speaking to apostates. Alden Woods, azcentral, "Outsiders, FLDS battle for control of towns Warren Jeffs left behind," 27 Mar. 2018 An apostate Synanon member had nearly been beaten to death. Hillel Aron, Los Angeles Magazine, "The Story of This Drug Rehab-Turned-Violent Cult Is Wild, Wild Country-Caliber Bizarre," 23 Apr. 2018 Like their counterparts in Syria and Iraq, insurgents belonging to Afghanistan’s Islamic State group are radical Sunni Muslims who revile Shiites as apostates and believe that the entire Muslim world should be ruled by a single caliphate. Kathy Gannon, The Seattle Times, "Q&A: How strong is the Islamic State group in Afghanistan," 22 Apr. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for apostate

see apostasy

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Statistics for apostate

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for apostate

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

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More Definitions for apostate



English Language Learners Definition of apostate

: someone whose beliefs have changed and who no longer belongs to a religious or political group

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More from Merriam-Webster on apostate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with apostate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for apostate

Spanish Central: Translation of apostate

Nglish: Translation of apostate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of apostate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on apostate

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


living or existing for a long time

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