[ sel-uh-bit, -beyt ]
/ ˈsɛl ə bɪt, -ˌbeɪt /


a person who abstains from sexual relations.
a person who remains unmarried, especially for religious reasons.


observing or pertaining to sexual abstention or a religious vow not to marry.
not married.

Nearby words

  1. celiac gland,
  2. celiac plexus,
  3. celiac plexus reflex,
  4. celiac trunk,
  5. celibacy,
  6. celibatic,
  7. celio-,
  8. celiocentesis,
  9. celioenterotomy,
  10. celiogastrotomy

Origin of celibate

1605–15; < Latin caelib- (stem of caelebs) unmarried + -ate1

Related formsnon·cel·i·bate, adjectiveun·cel·i·bate, adjective

Can be confusedcelebrate celibate cerebratecelibate chased chaste chest

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for celibate

British Dictionary definitions for celibate


/ (ˈsɛlɪbɪt) /


a person who is unmarried, esp one who has taken a religious vow of chastity


unmarried, esp by vow
abstaining from sexual intercourse
Derived Formscelibacy, noun

Word Origin for celibate

C17: from Latin caelibātus, from caelebs unmarried, of obscure origin

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 celibate



1610s, "state of celibacy" (especially as mandated to clergy in the Catholic church) from French célibat (16c.), from Latin caelibatus (see celibacy). This was the only sense until earl 19c. The adjective meaning "unmarried, sworn to remain single" is recorded from 1825. As a noun, one who is sworn to such a condition, from 1838.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper