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noun, plural ab·beys.
  1. a monastery under the supervision of an abbot or a convent under the supervision of an abbess.
  2. the group of buildings comprising such a monastery or convent.
  3. the church of an abbey.
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Origin of abbey

1200–50; Middle English abbey(e) < Old French abeie < Late Latin abbātia abbacy


  1. Edward,1927–89, U.S. novelist and nature writer.
  2. Edwin Austin,1852–1911, U.S. painter and illustrator.
  3. a female given name, form of Abigail.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for abbey

nunnery, convent, ministry, monastery, cloister, temple, priory, friary

Examples from the Web for abbey

Contemporary Examples of abbey

Historical Examples of abbey

British Dictionary definitions for abbey


  1. a building inhabited by a community of monks or nuns governed by an abbot or abbess
  2. a church built in conjunction with such a building
  3. such a community of monks or nuns
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Word Origin for abbey

C13: via Old French abeie from Church Latin abbātia abbacy
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 abbey


mid-13c., "convent headed by an abbot or abbess," from Anglo-French abbeie, Old French abaïe, from Late Latin abbatia, from abbas (genitive abbatis); see abbot.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper