sem·​i·​nary | \ ˈse-mə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce seminary (audio) \
plural seminaries

Definition of seminary

1 : an environment in which something originates and from which it is propagated a seminary of vice and crime
2a : an institution of secondary or higher education
b : an institution for the training of candidates for the priesthood, ministry, or rabbinate

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Synonyms for seminary


academe, academy, school

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Examples of seminary in a Sentence

a seminary exclusively for women some claimed that orphanages were seminaries of sin and petty crime, turning out juvenile delinquents by the score

Recent Examples on the Web

An Iowa seminary student honeymooning in Florida drowned when he was swept out to sea on his first time in the ocean, officials said. CBS News, "Iowa seminary student on Florida honeymoon drowns during first ocean swim," 1 Aug. 2019 The party has doubled its share of the vote in the polls by promising to enlist religious seminary students, who are currently exempt from the draft that applies to most other young Israelis. Jerusalem, The Economist, "Binyamin Netanyahu will soon be Israel’s longest-ever-serving leader," 18 July 2019 Davis said she was abused as a teen by a music minister who went on to seminary and kept working in churches until last year. Washington Post, "Southern Baptist leader bemoans abuse crisis, vows action," 13 June 2019 Baptized a Catholic, the faith of his family's Missouri owners, Tolton studied for the priesthood in Rome because his race precluded his acceptance to a U.S. seminary. Fox News, "US’ first black priest, an ex-slave, may be on his way to sainthood," 13 June 2019 One of the women who had alleged inappropriate remarks by Steinhardt was a rabbi who had graduated from and taught at the seminary. Sharon Otterman, ProPublica, "NYU Hires Law Firm to Investigate Behavior of Steinhardt, a Prominent Donor," 14 May 2019 Born just before the end of World War II in the French town of Poitiers, Robuchon studied at a seminary from a young age and considered becoming a priest. Sarah Dilorenzo, The Seattle Times, "Michelin-starred French master chef Joel Robuchon dies at 73," 6 Aug. 2018 His body was found on the side of a road near the seminary. Los Angeles Times, "Hundreds attend funeral of Israeli soldier stabbed to death," 8 Aug. 2019 During his studies in an Episcopalian seminary, though, Keyes was instructed that the priestly confessor acts on God’s behalf. San Diego Union-Tribune, "‘I confess': should the ‘seal of the confessional’ protect pedophiles?," 4 Aug. 2019

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

1542, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for seminary

Middle English, seedbed, nursery, from Latin seminarium, from semin-, semen seed

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Statistics for seminary

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for seminary

The first known use of seminary was in 1542

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English Language Learners Definition of seminary

: a school for training religious leaders (such as priests, ministers, and rabbis)


sem·​i·​nary | \ ˈse-mə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce seminary (audio) \
plural seminaries

Kids Definition of seminary

1 : a private school at or above the high school level
2 : a school for the training of priests, ministers, or rabbis

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Comments on seminary

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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