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

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Guilty of apostasy.
  • n. A person who has renounced a religion or faith.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pertaining to, or characterized by, apostasy; faithless to moral allegiance; renegade.
  • n. 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.
  • n. One who, after having received sacred orders, renounces his clerical profession.
  • intransitive v. To apostatize.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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.
  • n. 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 WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

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


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")



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  • 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

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

    February 11, 2008

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

    July 3, 2007

  • Only at the apostake.

    July 2, 2007

  • We found an apostate, may we burn her?

    July 2, 2007

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

    July 2, 2007

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

    July 2, 2007