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


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 takeover, which lasted over a decade, was no-holds-barred, with Patterson keeping files on ideological opponents and cultivating spies in seminaries, according to historical accounts. Author: Michelle Boorstein, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Anchorage Daily News, "How women led to the dramatic rise and fall of Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson," 11 June 2018 About 15 million people are part of the Southern Baptist Convention; proceeds from its 46,000 churches help finance six seminaries, including the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Amy Harmon, New York Times, "Southern Baptist Leader Removed as Seminary President for Remarks on Women," 23 May 2018 Though her husband was not mentioned by name, his seminary’s recent history of promoting women into gender-appropriate teaching roles — but not preaching positions — were highlighted from the stage. Adelle M. Banks, Houston Chronicle, "Amid #MeToo culture, Southern Baptists mull ways to increase women’s roles," 16 June 2018 Armstrong’s time at SWBTS coincided almost exactly with the beginning of Paige Patterson’s tenure as seminary president. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "The Religious Right’s #MeToo Reckoning Is Coming," 30 May 2018 As the annual meeting drew to a close, delegates rejected a motion calling for those executive committee members to be dismissed from the seminary’s board. Washington Post, "Pence gives campaign-style speech to Southern Baptists," 13 June 2018 Pence's speech comes with the convention already in the spotlight following the firing of prominent Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson from a Texas seminary over his treatment of women. Editors, USA TODAY, "Pence to address Southern Baptist Convention, 2026 World Cup bid: 5 more things to know Wednesday," 13 June 2018 Still, residents keep suggesting that the 70-acre seminary property would be an ideal spot for the school, Roos said. Erin Mccarthy,, "Lower Merion eyes land for new middle school, but part of Stoneleigh could still be seized," 12 June 2018 First, the 2003 rape case was handled by another seminary administrator, not Patterson, according to Sharpe. Daniel Burke, CNN, "'A foretaste of the wrath of God:' Southern Baptists to confront scandals at national meeting," 11 June 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

5 Nov 2018

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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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