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

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 For decades, Romania’s communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had banned birth control and abortions, and imposed a ‘‘celibacy tax’’ on families with fewer than five children. William Wan, BostonGlobe.com, "What separation from parents does to children: ‘The effect is catastrophic’," 19 June 2018 One, live a life of celibacy, which obviously leads to high rates of suicide, depression, anxiety. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds Is On a New Kind of Mission for the Mormon Church," 12 July 2018 Capella is a canon lawyer, and is listed online as having written a 2003 paper for the Pontifical Lateran University on priestly celibacy and the church's criminal code. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, "Vatican court jails ex-diplomat Italian priest Carlo Alberto Capella for child porn," 23 June 2018 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, chicagotribune.com, "For what's believed to be the first time, the Vatican uses the term 'LGBT' in official document," 20 June 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





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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

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


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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