cel·​i·​ba·​cy | \ ˈse-lə-bə-sē How to pronounce celibacy (audio) \

Definition of celibacy

1 : the state of not being married
2a : abstention from sexual intercourse
b : abstention by vow from marriage priestly celibacy

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Examples of celibacy in a Sentence

a widower who has maintained absolute celibacy since the death of his wife

Recent Examples on the Web

More essays Church leaders typically reject a link between celibacy and abuse. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Catholics Debate the Future of Priestly Celibacy," 27 June 2019 Mother Ann Lee experienced four miscarriages, which likely informed her celibacy doctrine. Diana Budds, Curbed, "One of America’s most popular furniture styles was invented by a celibate religious sect," 21 June 2019 Back then, the supreme court had even said that the deity had the right to keep its vow of celibacy under right to privacy. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Birds to holy rivers: A list of everything India considers “legal persons”," 6 June 2019 Priests are set apart, by celibacy, by sacramental powers. Garry Wills, The New York Review of Books, "Garry Wills," 29 June 2016 That cannot happen with the continuance of the mandatory vow of celibacy. WSJ, "Deal With the Priests Who Molest the Young," 25 Jan. 2019 The church faced criticism from LGBT advocates when the only sign of gay families amid a days-long display of family issues was a gay man and his mother talking about celibacy. Michelle Boorstein, BostonGlobe.com, "For the first time, Vatican uses the term LGBT in an official document," 21 June 2018 And rather than being the subject of innumerable rumors about extramarital affairs, Duncan was wholly devoted to his late wife and now lives in apparent celibacy. Washington Post, latimes.com, "James Patterson and Bill Clinton's authorial debut is... awkward," 4 June 2018 The report's authors also recommended that the church lift its celibacy requirement and require priests to report abuse revealed during confession. Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, "Australian archbishop convicted of covering up sexual abuse," 22 May 2018

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

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for celibacy

celibate "state of not being married" (borrowed from Latin caelibātus, from caelebs "not having a spouse, unmarried" + -ātus -ate entry 2) + -acy — more at celibate entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near celibacy



celiac disease





Statistics for celibacy

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for celibacy

The first known use of celibacy was in 1646

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More from Merriam-Webster on celibacy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for celibacy

Spanish Central: Translation of celibacy

Nglish: Translation of celibacy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about celibacy

Comments on celibacy

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