ab·​bey | \ ˈa-bē How to pronounce abbey (audio) \
plural abbeys

Definition of abbey

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a monastery ruled by an abbot
b : a convent ruled by an abbess
2 : an abbey church


biographical name
Ab·​bey | \ ˈa-bē How to pronounce Abbey (audio) \

Definition of Abbey (Entry 2 of 2)

Edwin Austin 1852–1911 American painter and illustrator

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Examples of abbey in a Sentence

Noun the monks in the abbey grow all their own vegetables
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The rocky stretch, on the Italian Riviera, is home to a 10th century abbey and a restaurant with truly outstanding handmade pasta, served in an appropriately beachy style—plastic tablecloths and paper plates. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "51 Things in Europe that Every Traveler Needs to Experience," 4 Aug. 2020 The abbey flourished, and from early on, included royal quarters for the monarch. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Queen Elizabeth's Royal Residence in Scotland, Has an Impressive History," 20 June 2020 The reader learns, for example, that Nigel the miller gave handsomely to the abbey. The Economist, "Craft from the past Leaf through the newly digitised “St Albans Benefactors’ Book”," 8 June 2020 An employee at their abbey has also tested positive. Hunter Johnson, Dallas News, "2 Cistercian monks, professors at Irving’s University of Dallas, recovering from coronavirus," 14 Apr. 2020 The researchers believe that victims of the Black Death fled the overcrowded cities and overwhelmed hospitals there, only to die at the abbey and its hospital shortly after their journey. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Medieval 'Black Death' mass grave uncovered in the English countryside," 18 Feb. 2020 Verhalen added that an employee of the abbey had also become sick over the weekend, requesting the community keep the employee in their prayers. Hunter Johnson, Dallas News, "2 Cistercian monks, professors at Irving’s University of Dallas, recovering from coronavirus," 14 Apr. 2020 Silver Branch Brewing anniversary week: Silver Spring’s Silver Branch brewing celebrates one year of brewing delicious, classic beer styles — crisp Czech pilsner, earthy English ESB, Belgian abbey beers — with a week of events. Washington Post, "18 things to do in the D.C. area this week," 2 Mar. 2020 Inside the abbey, the royals were seated according to the order of precedence, or royal rank. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Prince Harry Sat in Front of Kate Middleton During the Anzac Service in Westminster Abbey," 25 Apr. 2019

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for abbey


Middle English abbeye, abbay, borrowed from Anglo-French abeie, abbaye, borrowed from Medieval Latin abbātia "abbacy, abbey," from Late Latin abbāt-, abbās abbot + Latin -ia -y entry 2

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Time Traveler for abbey

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for abbey

Last Updated

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abbey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for abbey


How to pronounce Abbey (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of abbey

: a monastery run by an abbot
: a convent run by an abbess
: a church that is connected to other buildings where monks or nuns live or once lived


ab·​bey | \ ˈa-bē How to pronounce abbey (audio) \
plural abbeys

Kids Definition of abbey

2 : a church that is connected to buildings where nuns or monks live

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More from Merriam-Webster on abbey

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abbey

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abbey

Spanish Central: Translation of abbey

Nglish: Translation of abbey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abbey for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about abbey

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