Meaning of beguinage in English:



  • A house for members of a lay sisterhood in the Low Countries.

    ‘He has looked at archival manuscripts from some 300 communities, and further research on beguinages will have to begin with his findings.’
    • ‘The Dutch revolt against Spain in the sixteenth century broke the continuity of beguinages, even though some persisted through the nineteenth century.’
    • ‘After rather informal beginnings in a context of religious independence and women's work, beguinages became large, well-established institutions by the fourteenth century.’
    • ‘The Counterreformation helped establish new charitable institutions, the case di carita, that were geared toward the support of single women from the lower classes but also allowed some upper-class women a retreat from marriage (in ways that resemble the beguinages of northern Europe).’
    • ‘Beguinages provided a home for women who wished to live chastely and piously with other women while also working in the urban economy, and who chose not to take permanent religious vows.’
    • ‘In the twelfth century there was a sudden multiplication of women's hospices, houses of reclusion, and beguinages of all sizes.’
    • ‘There were also a few men resident in the beguinage of St Elizabeth of Lille in the later Middle Ages.’
    • ‘Ales Malachine, who worked at the beguinage, was a wool comber.’
    • ‘The Beguines were free to leave the beguinage and resume their old lives when their husbands returned from war.’



/ˈbeɪɡɪnədʒ/ /beɪɡɪˈnɑːʒ/


Late 17th century from French béguine (see beguine) + -age.