[ uh-pos-tuh-see ]
/ əˈpɒs tə si /
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noun, plural a·pos·ta·sies.
a total desertion of or departure from one's religion, principles, party, cause, etc.
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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. 2023


What does apostasy mean?

Apostasy is the act of totally abandoning or rejecting one’s religion (or the state of having abandoned or rejected it).

It can also be used in a slightly more general way to refer to the act of totally abandoning or rejecting one’s principles, cause, party, or other organization.

The word typically implies that before the rejection, one had a strong connection or involvement. Someone who abandons their religion or cause in this way can be called an apostate. Both apostasy and apostate are usually used in a way that’s critical of such abandonment—or that at least implies that others who remain in the religion or cause are critical of the departure.

Apostasy is sometimes used more specifically to refer to a rejection of Christianity, but the term is also used in the context of other religions, such as Islam.

A common misspelling of apostasy is apostacy.

Example: The pastor’s sermon condemned apostasy—the trouble is, the apostates weren’t there to hear it.

Where does apostasy come from?

The first records of the word apostasy come from the 1300s. It comes from the Late Latin apostasia, meaning “a standing away” or “withdrawing,” from the Greek apóstas(is), “desertion.” The root apo- means “away,” “off,” or “apart.” (Apo– is also used in the similar-sounding but mostly unrelated word apostle, which comes from a Greek term meaning “one who is sent forth.”)

Apostasy is the act or state of standing away from something (or someone) that you used to stand with. Most frequently, apostasy refers to the total rejection of a belief system that you used to subscribe to, especially a religious one. Even when it’s used in other ways, such departures are likened in seriousness to a rejection of one’s religion. For example, a politician who leaves their party for a rival one might be accused of apostasy or labeled an apostate. On the other hand, heresy (which can also be used in a literal or more figurative way) refers to the rejection or contradiction of a certain belief or doctrine within a religion or other system without abandoning it completely.

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What are some other forms related to apostasy?

What are some synonyms for apostasy?

What are some words that share a root or word element with apostasy



What are some words that often get used in discussing apostasy?


How is apostasy used in real life?

Apostasy is usually used seriously and negatively. It’s most often used in reference to religion, but it’s also used in politics and other contexts.



Try using apostasy!

Which of the following actions is NOT associated with apostasy

A. renunciation
B. rejection
C. acceptance
D. abandonment

How to use apostasy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for apostasy

/ (əˈpɒstəsɪ) /

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