apos·​ta·​sy | \ ə-ˈpä-stə-sē How to pronounce apostasy (audio) \
plural apostasies

Definition of apostasy

1 : an act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith
2 : abandonment of a previous loyalty : defection

Examples of apostasy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For most true believers, though, the latter option—choosing apostasy, which is a kind of self-exile,—is not really an option at all. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 7 Oct. 2021 But one person’s prophecy is another person’s apostasy, and most of us don’t object to preachers airing political opinions per se, only those which conflict with our own. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 7 Oct. 2021 This prequel perpetuates the non-religious cynicism of the TV series — an apostasy as offensive as HBO’s use of the letterbox format, faking cinema. Armond White, National Review, 6 Oct. 2021 Indeed, for members from these districts, the best way to get into political trouble back home is to compromise with the other side, an apostasy that will produce a primary-election challenge. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, 4 Oct. 2021 In Franzen’s fiction, families are their own form of religion, with options for salvation and purification, and just as many for apostasy. New York Times, 27 Sep. 2021 Hamula had been serving as a member of The First Quorum of the Seventy, one of church’s highest order of priests, and his release is not because of apostasy, or abandonment of religious beliefs, the church says. CNN, 19 Aug. 2021 Raif Badawi dared to write such things in Saudi Arabia — including exercising his own freedom, asking questions about faith, and challenging extremism — so he was imprisoned for apostasy for ten years. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, 19 July 2021 Conversion from Islam is considered apostasy, and as such, punishable by death. Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab, Forbes, 5 July 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for apostasy

Middle English apostasie, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Late Latin apostasia, borrowed from Greek apostasía "defection, revolt, (Septuagint) rebellion against God" (Late Greek, "defection, apostasy"), variant (with -ia -ia entry 1) of apóstasis, from aposta-, variant stem of aphístamai, aphístasthai "to stand away from, keep aloof from, revolt," middle voice of aphístēmi, aphistánai "to put away, remove, cause to revolt" (from aph-, assimilated variant of apo- apo- + histánai "to set, make stand") + -sis -sis — more at stand entry 1

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The first known use of apostasy was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

26 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Apostasy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apostasy. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.

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