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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for abbe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was not very late when she heard the abbe Cornille take his leave.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • This afternoon I have seen the abbe Cornille, and he gives me no encouragement whatever.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • They had waited until day, and the abbe, having been notified, was about to come.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • The abbe Cornille, having mounted to the altar, had just come down again.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • Then, all at once raising his head, he inquired: "And did you also know abbe Peyramale?"

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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