noun, plural a·pos·ta·sies.

a total desertion of or departure from one's religion, principles, party, cause, etc.

Origin of apostasy

1350–1400; Middle English apostasye (< Anglo-French) < Late Latin apostasia < Greek: a standing away, withdrawing, equivalent to apóstas(is) (apo- apo- + sta- stand + -sis -sis) + -ia -ia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for apostasy

Contemporary Examples of apostasy

Historical Examples of apostasy

  • Also that hankering after an overt or practical effect seems to me an apostasy.

    Essays, Second Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • And he averted his head from her, as though from a temptation to apostasy.


    Stephen French Whitman

  • Their commander purchased his life by apostasy and a treasonable oath.

    Peter the Hermit

    Daniel A. Goodsell

  • Just then it was, if we mistake not, that their apostasy began.

  • So Peter tells us that the alternative is growth or apostasy.

British Dictionary definitions for apostasy


noun plural -sies

abandonment of one's religious faith, party, a cause, etc

Word Origin for apostasy

C14: from Church Latin apostasia, from Greek apostasis desertion, from apostanai to stand apart from, desert
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 apostasy

late 14c., "renunciation, abandonment or neglect of established religion," from Latin apostasia, from later Greek apostasia, from apostasis "revolt, defection," literally "a standing off" (see apostate). General (non-religious) sense is attested from 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper