Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One who has abandoned one's religious faith, a political party, one's principles, or a cause.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who is guilty of apostasy; one who has forsaken the church, sect, party, profession, or opinion to which he before adhered (used in reproach); a renegade; a pervert.
  • noun In the Roman Catholic Church, one who, without obtaining a formal dispensation, forsakes a religious order of which he has made profession. Synonyms
  • Unfaithful to religious creed, or to moral or political principle; traitorous to allegiance; false; renegade: as, “the apostate lords,” Macaulay, Hist. Eng., i.
  • To apostatize.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who has forsaken the faith, principles, or party, to which he before adhered; esp., one who has forsaken his religion for another; a pervert; a renegade.
  • noun (R. C. Ch.) One who, after having received sacred orders, renounces his clerical profession.
  • adjective Pertaining to, or characterized by, apostasy; faithless to moral allegiance; renegade.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To apostatize.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Guilty of apostasy.
  • noun A person who has renounced a religion or faith.

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

  • adjective not faithful to religion or party or cause
  • noun a disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause or religion or political party or friend etc.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin apostata, from Greek apostatēs, from aphistanai, to revolt; see apostasy.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin apostata, from Ancient Greek ἀποστασία (apostasia, "defection, revolt"), from ἀφίστημι (aphistēmi, "I withdraw, revolt"), from ἀπό (apo, "from") + ἵστημι (histēmi, "I stand")

Examples

  • In its message of violent global jihad, al-Qaida rails against U.S. support of Israel and what it calls apostate regimes in the Middle East.

    Radical Islamists Try to Exploit Islamophobia

  • The early Reformers probably realized this but they felt the necessity of building up some sort of a Church which could bind together its members into a corporate body professing unity of belief and worship, and which, in contrast with the pope's Church, which they called apostate, could be called the true Church of God.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 15: Tournely-Zwirner

  • The group urged Somali parents to let children learn how to handle weapons and fight what it calls the apostate government.

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  • The group urged Somali parents to let children learn how to handle weapons and fight what it calls the apostate government.

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  • The group urged Somali parents to let children learn how to handle weapons and fight what it calls the apostate government.

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  • The group urged Somali parents to let children learn how to handle weapons and fight what it calls the apostate government.

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  • Declaring that person an apostate is impossible and impermissible.

    The Amman Message

  • The former wife of the deceased apostate is still living there.

    Naguib Mahfouz – The Son of Two Civilizations

  • I am deeply grateful for the legacy, albeit apostate from the church.

    J. Michael Bishop - Autobiography

  • They had charged him as a blasphemer of God, and an apostate from the church; therefore he shows that he is a son of Abraham, and values himself upon his being able to say, Our father Abraham, and that he is a faithful worshipper of the God of Abraham, whom therefore he here calls the God of glory.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation)

Comments

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  • Very few former believers call themselves apostates and they generally consider this term to be a pejorative.

    July 2, 2007

  • Or they may apply it to themselves ironically, acknowledging that *they* consider *me* an apostate.

    July 2, 2007

  • We found an apostate, may we burn her?

    July 2, 2007

  • Only at the apostake.

    July 2, 2007

  • David Eddings uses this word to describe a character in the Belgariad.

    July 3, 2007

  • It seems like every bloody article mentioning John McCain describes him as an “apostate�?.

    February 11, 2008

  • I was interested to learn in John Wells's phonetic blog of 1 July 2008 that the traditional pronunciation of this is stressed on the /pɒ/. He says dictionaries only give /əˈpɒsteɪt/, though actually the OED (2nd ed.) gives only /əˈpɒstət/ with weak final syllable. I have always thought of it the way the BBC said it, viz /ˈæpəsteɪt/, though of course I've presumably never actually heard it or had occasion to say it.

    July 3, 2008