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Alternative forms[edit]


From French célibat, from Latin caelibatus, perfect passive participle of caelibare, from caelebs (unmarried), compare German Zölibat.


  • IPA(key): /ˈsɛləbət/
  • (file)


celibate (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete) Not married.
  2. (by extension) Abstaining from sexual relations and pleasures.
    Members of religious communities sometimes take vows to remain celibate.



Derived terms[edit]



celibate (plural celibates)

  1. One who is not married, especially one who has taken a religious vow not to get married, usually because of being a member of a religious community.
    • 1893, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Woman, Church and State: A Historical Account of the Status of Woman Through the Christian Ages: with Reminiscences of the Matriarchate:
      Even during the ages that priestly marriage was permitted, celibates obtained a higher reputation for sanctity and virtue than married priests, who infinitely more than celibates were believed subject to infestation by demons.
  2. (obsolete) A celibate state; celibacy.
    • 1678, Antiquitates Christianæ: Or, the History of the Life and Death of the Holy Jesus: [], London: [] E. Flesher, and R. Norton, for R[ichard] Royston, [], OCLC 1179639832:
      He [] preferreth holy celibate before the estate of marriage.
    • 1935, Samuel Beckett, Watt:
      And Mrs. Gorman had had several admirers, both before and after Mr. Gorman, and even during Mr. Gorman, and Watt at least two well defined romances, in the course of his celibate.




celibate (third-person singular simple present celibates, present participle celibating, simple past and past participle celibated)

  1. (rare) To practice celibacy
    • 1941, Michigan Raw Review, page 34:
      However, be that as it may, Stason celebrated with the boys while Hessel celibated alone.
    • 1973, Stevens Indicator - Volumes 90-91, page 55:
      These kids were winding up 45 years and 4 days of celebrating. Me? I'm winding up seven years of celibating looking for a patient virgin.
    • 1983, Jerry Bamman, Ecco!, page 1-36:
      RICHARD: The Franciscans have turned me down, Angelina. They have asked me to travel another road to sainthood. TOM: Richard is done with celibating!
    • 2010, Joan Smith, Aurora:
      But if she must break off her celibating, it's a shame and a pity she had to choose him to do it with.
    • 2012, Ted Huntington, Big Science Secrets, Lies, and Mistakes, page 129:
      But also with labels like “whore” and “slut”, as a male, it's annoying, because, women don't need to be chastised and made colder in this ice age we live in— they need to be warmed up, turned on, complimented, celebrated (not celibated), encouraged to enjoy their bodies, and pursue pleasure soberly and intelligently.

Related terms[edit]

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