First attested in 1250 in Middle English as abbeye (“convent headed by an abbot”), from Old French abaïe, abbaïe (Modern French abbaye) from Vulgar Latin abbatia, from Classical Latin abbas (“abbot”). See abbot.
NounAbbey (plural Abbeys)
- A monastery or society of people, secluded from the world and devoted to religion and celibacy, which is headed by an abbot; also, the monastic building or buildings.
- From 1199 to 1203 William Punchard was the abbot of the abbey of Rievaulx, which was part of the Cistercian order of monks.
- The church of a monastery.
- In London, the Abbey is short for Westminster Abbey, and in Scotland, the precincts of the Abbey of Holyrood. The name is also retained for a private residence on the site of an abbey; as, Newstead Abbey, the residence of Lord Byron.
- Men in an abbey (monastery) are called monks, women in a convent are called nuns.
- A male head of an abbey is an abbot; a female head (rare) is an abbess.
- The translations below need to be checked.
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