Abbeys – Definition & Meaning

Abbeys are religious establishments that have been around for centuries. They have played an important role in the history of many countries, and their influence can still be felt today. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of abbeys, as well as their origins, associations, synonyms, antonyms, and root words.


An abbey is a complex of buildings used by members of a religious order for prayer, meditation, and communal living. It is usually headed by an abbot or an abbess. Abbeys can be found in many different religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism.


The word “abbey” comes from the Latin word “abbatia,” which means “a place where an abbot lives.” Abbeys were first established in Europe during the Middle Ages, and they quickly became important centers of learning and culture. Many of the great works of literature and art from this period were produced in abbeys.

Meaning in different dictionaries

The meaning of “abbey” is fairly consistent across different dictionaries. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a monastery or convent, or the buildings occupied by a community of monks or nuns.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “a monastery or convent under the supervision of an abbot or abbess.”


Abbeys are often associated with peace, tranquility, and spirituality. They are places where people can go to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and connect with something greater than themselves. Abbeys are also associated with history and tradition, as many of them have been around for centuries.


Some synonyms for “abbey” include monastery, convent, priory, friary, and cloister.


There are no direct antonyms for “abbey,” but some related words might include secular, profane, or non-religious.

The same root words

The word “abbey” shares a root with several other words, including “abbot,” “abbess,” and “abbatial.” All of these words are related to the concept of a religious community led by an abbot or abbess.

Example Sentences

  • The abbey was founded in the 12th century by a group of monks.
  • The abbess of the convent was known for her wisdom and compassion.
  • The ruins of the old priory were a popular spot for tourists to visit.
  • The friary was a place of refuge for travelers and pilgrims.
  • The cloister was a peaceful oasis in the midst of the bustling city.
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