[sel-uh-bit, -beyt]


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.

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

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British Dictionary definitions for celibate



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