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


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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 Seventeen-year-old Noel has left the seminary and come to live with grandparents. Star Tribune, "Quarantine Read: Reader recommends "This Is Happiness"," 23 Apr. 2021 Clare Hall was built in 1955 and sits behind the seminary. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dorms on archdiocese grounds, Latter-day Saints donations provide 'blueprint' for future of housing for the homeless," 8 Apr. 2021 Cone walked with a cane, and the headmistress of the seminary, a private women’s school, began imposing strange rules that segregated her from the rest of the student body. New York Times, "Overlooked No More: Kitty Cone, Trailblazer of the Disability Rights Movement," 26 Mar. 2021 Rabbi Jan Uhrbach was named interim dean of the Rabbinical School at The Jewish Theological Seminary, the first woman in the dean’s role in the history of Conservative Judaism’s flagship seminary., "Ukraine to let in vaccinated Israeli pilgrims for Rosh Hashanah," 23 Mar. 2021 The former rector of the seminary, the Rev. Enrico Radice, is charged with having helped Martinelli avoid investigators by discrediting L.G.'s allegations as baseless. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, "Ex-Vatican altar boy testifies in seminary sex abuse trial," 17 Mar. 2021 Last year, even while announcing new scholarship funds for Black students, Mohler declined to change the names of buildings at his seminary named after slaveholders. David Crary, Star Tribune, "Prominent Black pastor pondering exit from Southern Baptists," 24 Jan. 2021 Ortiz grew up in Mexico, enrolled in seminary in Italy, then studied theology in New Jersey before being ordained in 2004. David Crary, ajc, "Religious leaders worldwide, across faiths who died in 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 The seminary already had plans to sell a portion of its campus, including Stub Hall, for redevelopment into affordable, market-rate and senior housing. Shannon Prather, Star Tribune, "Ramsey County looking at opening temporary winter shelter at Luther Seminary dorm," 17 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for seminary

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The first known use of seminary was in 1542

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Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Seminary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for seminary



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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