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[a-bey, ab-ey; French a-bey] /æˈbeɪ, ˈæb eɪ; French aˈbeɪ/
noun, plural abbés
[a-beyz, ab-eyz; French a-bey] /æˈbeɪz, ˈæb eɪz; French aˈbeɪ/ (Show IPA)
(esp. in France)
a member of the secular clergy.
a title of respect for any ecclesiastic or clergyman.
Origin of abbé
1520-30; < French, Middle French < Late Latin abbāte(m), accusative of abbās abbot Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for abbe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • abbe Mouret smiled and related in a few words how strangely Jeanbernat had received him.

  • On his side the abbe studied Samuel Brohl without seeming to do so.

    Samuel Brohl & Company Victor Cherbuliez
  • The abbe Cornille wiped both her eyes with a bit of cotton, which he afterwards put into one of the little cornets of paper.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • He could not breathe until the abbe had freed him from his obtrusive society.

    Samuel Brohl & Company Victor Cherbuliez
  • "I did not come to frighten you, for I shall never speak of this to any one in the world," said the abbe.

    Ursula Honore de Balzac
British Dictionary definitions for abbe


/ˈæbɪ; German ˈaːbə/
Ernst. 1840–1905, German physicist, noted for his work in optics and the microscope condenser known as the Abbe condenser


/ˈæbeɪ; French abe/
a French abbot
a title used in addressing any other French cleric, such as a priest
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for abbe

1520s, title given in France to "every one who wears an ecclesiastical dress," especially one having no assigned ecclesiastical duty, from French abbé, from Late Latin abbatem, accusative of abbas (see abbot).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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