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

  • adj. Having the shape of a spheroid generated by rotating an ellipse about its shorter axis.
  • adj. Having an equatorial diameter greater than the distance between poles; compressed along or flattened at the poles: Planet Earth is an oblate solid.
  • n. A layperson dedicated to religious life.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church A member of one of various religious communities for men or women.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Flattened or depressed at the poles.
  • n. A person dedicated to a life of religion or monasticism, especially a member of an order without religious vows or a lay member of a religious community.
  • n. A child given up by its parents into the keeping or dedication of a religious order or house.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Flattened or depressed at the poles.
  • adj. Offered up; devoted; consecrated; dedicated; -- used chiefly or only in the titles of Roman Catholic orders. See Oblate, n.
  • n. One of an association of priests or religious women who have offered themselves to the service of the church. There are three such associations of priests, and one of women, called oblates.
  • n. One of the Oblati.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To offer; present; propose.
  • To offer as an oblation; devote to the service of God or of the church.
  • In geometry, flattened at the poles: said of a figure generated by the revolution of an ellipse about its minor axis: as, the earth is an oblate spheroid. See prolate.
  • n. In the Roman Catholic Church, a secular person devoted to a monastery, but not under its vows.
  • n. A child dedicated by his or her parents to a monastic life, and therefore held in monastic discipline and domicile.
  • n. One who assumed the cowl in immediate anticipation of death.
  • n. One of a congregation of secular priests who do not bind themselves by monastic vows. The congregation of the Oblates of St. Charles or Oblates of the Blessed Virgin and St. Ambrose was founded in the diocese of Milan in the sixteenth century by St. Charles Borromeo; that of the Oblates of Italy was founded at Turin in 1816; and that of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, founded in the south of France in 1815, was brought into the United States in 1848.
  • n. One of a community of women engaged in religious and charitable work. Such communities are the oblates founded by St. Francesca of Rome about 1433, and the Oblate Sisters of Providence, a sisterhood of colored women founded at Baltimore in 1825 for the education and the amelioration of the condition of colored women.
  • n. Eccles., a loaf of unconsecrated bread prepared for use at the celebration of the eucharist; altar-bread.

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

  • adj. having the equatorial diameter greater than the polar diameter; being flattened at the poles
  • n. a lay person dedicated to religious work or the religious life


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

Probably New Latin oblātus : Latin ob-, toward; see ob- + Latin (prō)lātus; see prolate.
Medieval Latin oblātus, from Latin, past participle of offerre, to offer; see offer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French oblat and its source, post-classical Latin oblatus ‘person dedicated to religious life’, a noun use of the past participle of offerre ‘to offer’.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin oblātus (oblatus), from Latin ob ("in front of, before") + latus ("broad, wide"), (modelled after prolatus ("extended, lengthened")).


  • The Church, therefore, in the twelfth century, forbade the dedication of children in this way, and the term oblate has since been taken to mean persons, either lay or cleric, who voluntarily attach themselves to some monastery or order without taking the vows of religious.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 2: Assizes-Browne

  • An oblate is a secular Benedictine; that’s for people who are married, or even Protestants.

    The Exorsistah: X Returns

  • At a later date the word "oblate" was used to describe such lay men or women as were pensioned off by royal and other patrons upon monasteries or benefices, where they lived as in an almshouse or hospital.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 11: New Mexico-Philip

  • He remains one year in the novitiate, and then becomes an "oblate" for seven years; another year's novitiate is then gone through, at the end of which he is called conversus, and his simple vows are taken for three years.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 3: Brownson-Clairvaux

  • Note that you omitted your latest "pious title" which at last count was now "oblate".

    National Catholic Reporter

  • Therefore, we—as the children of monkeys who fetishized symmetry and evenness—inherited a desire to live in a perfectly round world instead of a flat-topped oblate spheroid; to want planets that traveled in perfectly round orbits instead of weird egg-shaped ellipses and an Earth that looked like an inkblot with the equator as the fold.

    X, Chapter 3: Morowitz

  • In the sky above, the oblate form of Achernar shined a cool bluish white.

    Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts of Empire

  • "You'll see the Earth is curved but it won't be, 'We live on this oblate spheroid!'"

    Found in Space

  • Rabanus entered monastic life at a young age as an oblate, was trained in the liberal arts and received a broad formation in the Christian tradition.

    Benedict on the Liturgy: "The Faith is not only thought"

  • In an essay called "The Relativity of Wrong," the writer and scientist Isaac Asimov noted that, just as the earth is not flat, it is also not spherical; it bulges out at the equator, forming what is called an "oblate sphere."

    DeathWish Airways: Alan Greenspan and the 30% Chance of Error


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Jimmy Corrigan's Stewie Griffin's head is oblate.

    March 20, 2012

  • Flattened at the poles, as a spheroid generated by the revolution of an ellipse about its shorter axis. Opposite of prolate.

    November 14, 2007