from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A monastery supervised by an abbot.
  • n. A convent supervised by an abbess.
  • n. A church that is or once was part of a monastery or convent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In London, the Abbey is short for Westminster Abbey, and in Scotland, the precincts of the Abbey of Holyrood.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A monastery or society of persons of either sex, secluded from the world and devoted to religion and celibacy; also, the monastic building or buildings.
  • n. The church of a monastery.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A monastery or convent of persons of either sex devoted to religion and celibacy, and governed by an abbot or abbess (which see).
  • n. The buildings of a monastery or convent; sometimes, in particular, the house set apart for the residence of the abbot or abbess.
  • n. A church now or formerly attached to a monastery or convent: as, Westminster Abbey.
  • n. In Scotland, the sanctuary formerly afforded by the abbey of Holyrood Palace, as having been a royal residence.
  • n. A name sometimes given to the white poplar, Populus alba.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a convent ruled by an abbess
  • n. a church associated with a monastery or convent
  • n. a monastery ruled by an abbot


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French abaie, from Late Latin abbātia; see abbacy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From 1250 in Middle English as abbeye ("convent headed by an abbot"), from Old French abaïe, abbaïe, abeïe, abbeïe (Modern French abbaye) from Late Latin abbātia, from Classical Latin abbās ("abbot"). See abbot.


  • Item, the said abbot hath alienate and sold the jewels and plate of the monastery, to the value of five hundred marks, _to purchase of the Bishop of Rome his bulls to be a bishop, and to annex the said abbey to his bishopric, to that intent that he should not for his misdeeds be punished, or deprived from his said abbey_.

    Short Studies on Great Subjects

  • The abbey is inhabited by women but overseen by men.

    Holy Fools by Joanne Harris: Questions

  • In truth, the popular misapprehension on this subject has not been occasioned by any obscurity in the colophons of the great printer, or in the survey of Stow, but merely by the erroneous constricted sense into which the word abbey has passed in this country.

    Notes and Queries, Number 38, July 20, 1850

  • The abbey was a sanctuary, but only a temporary one.

    Sick Cycle Carousel

  • You climb & climb & suddenly you emerge at Roncevalles I have to say that I found it as inhospitable as 30 years ago—there are a couple of restaurants, church of Saint James & the old abbey, which is now turned over for lodging pilgrims.

    Archive 2009-11-22

  • Records are sketchy and no specific maps exist of the era when the abbey was a flourishing community.

    Darley Abbey

  • This was never going to be an easy matter to resolve, and it says much about the universal respect in which she was held by those on both sides of the argument that her abbey was the venue chosen.

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • The 54-year-old said: We chose a medieval theme because the abbey is a historical site, and we wanted to complement that.

    Historic abbey brings folk together

  • The abbey was a centre of spiritual and economic influence, founded in 1139 by Augustinian canons from Kirkham priory, near Malton in North Yorkshire.

    Thornto Abbey gatehouse in Lincolnshire reopened

  • That's good news for the cloistered nuns at the Bethlehem abbey, which is known around the world for its devotion to Gregorian chant and is one of the few places where it is sung with such frequency and intensity.

    Gregorian Chant Brings Tradition Back to Church


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  • A loanword from Ancient Syria (Syriac language).

    January 31, 2008