[ a-bey, ab-ey; French a-bey ]
/ æˈbeɪ, ˈæb eɪ; French aˈbeɪ /

noun, plural ab·bés [a-beyz, ab-eyz; French a-bey] /æˈbeɪz, ˈæb eɪz; French aˈbeɪ/. (esp. in France)

a member of the secular clergy.
a title of respect for any ecclesiastic or clergyman.

Nearby words

  1. abbreviate,
  2. abbreviated,
  3. abbreviation,
  4. abbreviatory,
  5. abby,
  6. abbé operation,
  7. abc,
  8. abc powers,
  9. abc soil,
  10. abc's

Origin of abbé

1520–30; < French, Middle French < Late Latin abbāte(m), accusative of abbās abbot Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for abbe

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

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