sem·​i·​nary | \ ˈse-mə-ˌner-ē \
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

The seminary, which trained Orthodox church leaders, has been closed since 1971, despite calls on the Turkish government to reopen it. Suzan Fraser, The Seattle Times, "Turkey, Greece stress need for dialogue," 5 Feb. 2019 These homosexual networks, which are now widespread in many dioceses, seminaries, religious orders, etc. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "The Tense Debate Over Gay Priests," 17 Jan. 2019 The story was published as the seminary's board was meeting. The Washington Post,, "Prominent Southern Baptist leader removed after remarks about abused women," 23 May 2018 Nashotah House sold the land to Gehl in 2016 as the seminary shifted its focus solely to education. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Gehl Farms threatens to sell nearly 400 acres in Nashotah and Delafield after municipalities change manure spreading laws," 25 June 2018 The seminary is also coping with changes in theological education and religious practice and commitment that are remaking faith life. Kristin E. Holmes,, "Lutheran seminary gets a heavenly bequest of $30 million," 30 May 2018 The seminary named an endowed professor’s chair in his honor in the 1960s. Peter Smith, The Courier-Journal, "Billy Graham credited fiery Kentucky preacher for inspiring him to become evangelist," 21 Feb. 2018 O'Malley launched an investigation into his diocesan seminary, and removed its rector, after reports of misconduct went public. Fox News, "Irish abuse survivor demands accountability even at Vatican," 24 Aug. 2018 In a 2010 video posted on YouTube, McCarrick was shown visiting the national seminary in Haiti that had been damaged earlier by the devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Pope’s alleged cover-up pivots on when, if sanctions imposed," 28 Aug. 2018

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

12 Feb 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 \
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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