[uh-pos-teyt, -tit]


a person who forsakes his religion, cause, party, etc.


of or characterized by apostasy.

Origin of apostate

1300–50; Middle English < Late Latin apostata < Greek apostátēs, equivalent to aposta- (see apostasy) + -tēs noun suffix
Related formsap·o·stat·i·cal·ly [ap-uh-stat-ik-lee] /ˌæp əˈstæt ɪk li/, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for apostate



a person who abandons his religion, party, cause, etc


guilty of apostasy
Derived Formsapostatical (ˌæpəˈstætɪkəl), adjective
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 apostate

mid-14c., "one who forsakes his religion or faith," from Old French apostate (Modern French apostat) and directly from Late Latin apostata, from Greek apostasia "defection, desertion, rebellion," from apostenai "to defect," literally "to stand off," from apo- "away from" (see apo-) + stenai "to stand." Used in non-religious situations (politics, etc.) from mid-14c.


late 14c.; see apostate (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper