mon·​as·​tery | \ˈmä-nə-ˌster-ē \
plural monasteries

Definition of monastery 

: a house for persons under religious vows especially : an establishment for monks

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Synonyms for monastery


abbey, cloister, friary, hermitage, priory

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Examples of monastery in a Sentence

Gregory Mendel worked out his concepts of genetics by doing breeding experiments using pea plants in the monastery's garden.

Recent Examples on the Web

The gunmen on Friday struck at least two buses carrying Copts returning from an ancient monastery in Egypt’s Minya Province, killing the seven with gunfire. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Gunmen in Egypt Attack Bus Carrying Christians, Killing Seven," 2 Nov. 2018 A century ago, the town that is now Ulaanbaatar was little more than a trading post and a monastery. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "Mongolia’s nomadic way of life threatened by climate change, neglect, modernity," 8 July 2018 Still, the monastery had 800 monks living there before the Soviet era began. National Geographic, "These Millennial Monks Are Adapting to a Modernizing World," 8 June 2018 Young Tibetan monks have also reportedly been forced to leave one of the biggest monasteries in a Tibetan region of western China as part of a drive to replace monastic life with secular education. Fox News, "China leader calls for 'anti-separatism efforts' in Tibet," 27 Aug. 2018 The new aesthetic takes a cue from some of the world’s oldest buildings: temples and monasteries. Samantha Weiss Hills, Curbed, "9 vacation homes to fuel your wanderlust," 30 July 2018 The former 14th century monastery is stunningly renovated, and its pan-Asian eatery Spices offers plush outdoor lounge seating and a zen-like ambiance, protected from street sounds thanks to tall abbey walls. Kat Odell, Vogue, "Where to Find the Fruits of Prague’s Food Revolution," 7 July 2018 But the pipeline remains greatly reduced, with a smaller number of monks in their 20s and 30s now taking charge at many monasteries. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "Meanwhile in ... Mongolia, Millennial monks are running the country’s monasteries," 21 June 2018 The prerequisite miracles ensued and in short order a chapel had been built, followed by the construction of a Benedictine monastery in 976. Smithsonian, "Explore Catalonia’s Most Beautiful Nature Parks," 15 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for monastery

Middle English monasterie, from Late Latin monasterium, from Late Greek monastērion, from Greek, hermit's cell, from monazein to live alone, from monos single — more at monk

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Statistics for monastery

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for monastery

The first known use of monastery was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for monastery



English Language Learners Definition of monastery

: a place where monks live and work together


mon·​as·​tery | \ˈmä-nə-ˌster-ē \
plural monasteries

Kids Definition of monastery

: a place where a community of monks lives and works

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Comments on monastery

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


a nest or breeding place

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