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See also: Abbey


See also the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica's article on:


From A.D. 1250 in Middle English abbey, abbeye (convent headed by an abbot) (compare archaic English abbaye), itself borrowed from Old French abaïe, abbaïe, abeïe, abbeïe (Modern French abbaye) from Late Latin or Ecclesiastical Latin abbātia, from Classical Latin abbās (abbot). Doublet of abbacy. See abbot.

Ruins of Fountains Abbey


  • IPA(key): /ˈæb.i/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æbi


abbey (plural abbeys)

  1. The office or dominion of an abbot or abbess. [First attested around 1150 to 1350.][1]
  2. A monastery or society of people, secluded from the world and devoted to religion and celibacy, which is headed by an abbot or abbess; also, the monastic building or buildings. [First attested around 1150 to 1350.][1]
    From 1199 to 1203 William Punchard was the abbot of the abbey of Rievaulx, which was part of the Cistercian order of monks.
  3. The church of a monastery. [First attested around 1150 to 1350.][1]
  4. (British) A residence that was previously an abbatial building.[2][Mid 16th century.][1]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 “abbey”, in Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2002, →ISBN, page 3.
  2. ^ Laurence Urdang (editor), The Random House College Dictionary (Random House, 1984 [1975], →ISBN), page 1


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Old French abaie; from Late Latin or Ecclesiastical Latin abbātia.


  • IPA(key): /aˈbɛi̯(ə)/, /aˈbiː(ə)/


abbey (plural abbeyes)

  1. An abbey (a building or monastic institution).
  2. The church located inside a monastery.
  3. (rare) Abbotship; abbacy.


  • English: abbey
  • Scots: abbey, aibey