apos·​ta·​sy ə-ˈpä-stə-sē How to pronounce apostasy (audio)
plural apostasies
: an act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith
: abandonment of a previous loyalty : defection

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Cheney’s credibility with non-MAGA audiences comes from her apostasy, her willingness to confront Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s larger authoritarian drift. Daniel Strauss, The New Republic, 10 Aug. 2022 And as with any religion, this opens up a host of dramatic situations — of apostasy and betrayal, doubt and disillusion. Washington Post, 11 Mar. 2022 Still, there are at least signs of tentative resistance to Trump, albeit from Republican grandees rather than a new standard bearer with a future in the party who is willing to risk political apostasy. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 7 Feb. 2022 As far as his Zenith world is concerned, though, this apostasy is the first step on the road to that ultimate evil — socialism! New York Times, 31 Dec. 2021 George Orwell may have had the right idea about how Democrats should react to the apostasy of Joe Manchin. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 23 Dec. 2021 Owens tried making excuses for the former president's apostasy. Joel Mathis, The Week, 27 Dec. 2021 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 See More

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.

Word History


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 cause to stand, place") + -sis -sis — more at assist entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near apostasy

Cite this Entry

“Apostasy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apostasy. Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



apos·​ta·​sy ə-ˈpäs-tə-sē How to pronounce apostasy (audio)
plural apostasies
: a giving up of a religious faith or a previous loyalty
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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