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[mon-uh-ster-ee] /ˈmɒn əˌstɛr i/
noun, plural monasteries.
a house or place of residence occupied by a community of persons, especially monks, living in seclusion under religious vows.
the community of persons living in such a place.
Origin of monastery
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin monastērium < Late Greek monastḗrion monk house, orig. hermit's cell, equivalent to monas-, variant stem of monázein to be alone (see mon-) + -tērion neuter adj. suffix denoting place
Related forms
[mon-uh-steer-ee-uh l] /ˌmɒn əˈstɪər i əl/ (Show IPA),
1. cloister; abbey, priory, friary, lamasery. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for monastery
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The monastery of Clugny grew out of the urgent need of monastic reform.

    The Rise of the Mediaeval Church Alexander Clarence Flick
  • He hurriedly reached the main path which led to the monastery.

    En Route J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
  • It was during these months that the Buddha would retire to some monastery and cease from travelling and teaching for a time.

    The Soul of a People H. Fielding
  • They are forbidden to leave the cloister for the farm or the neighbourhood of the monastery.

    En Route J.-K. (Joris-Karl) Huysmans
  • Like the famous A-tu-ma-shi monastery, these made no pretence of being in Burmese style, and were grievous to the sthetic eye.

    A Civil Servant in Burma Herbert Thirkel White
British Dictionary definitions for monastery


/ˈmɒnəstərɪ; -strɪ/
noun (pl) -teries
the residence of a religious community, esp of monks, living in seclusion from secular society and bound by religious vows
Derived Forms
monasterial (ˌmɒnəˈstɪərɪəl) adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Church Latin monastērium, from Late Greek monastērion, from Greek monázein to live alone, from monos alone
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 monastery

c.1400, from Old French monastere "monastery" (14c.) and directly from Late Latin monasterium, from Ecclesiastical Greek monasterion "a monastery," from monazein "to live alone," from monos "alone" (see mono-). With suffix -terion "place for (doing something)." Originally applied to houses of any religious order, male or female.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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