Meaning of nun in English:


Pronunciation /nʌn/

See synonyms for nun

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  • 1A member of a religious community of women, typically one living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

    ‘A Jesuit uncle, then chaplain to the Seattle community of Carmelite nuns, made an emergency appeal for prayers.’
    • ‘During the 500's, Saint Benedict of Nursia established monasteries where monks and nuns lived in separate communities.’
    • ‘True, in Roman Catholicism there are whole communities of monks and nuns who intercede every day for those who do not have the desire or the capacity to pray for themselves.’
    • ‘Once a year I spend a weekend at a Buddhist monastery populated by a community of monks and nuns.’
    • ‘It was this letter which enabled the founding of Carmelite communities for nuns, and gave official recognition to lay people as members of the order.’
    • ‘While this nuptial dimension belongs to the entire Church by reason of our baptism, the cloistered nun is consecrated to be an icon of this reality.’
    • ‘The bias against celibacy prevents the emergence of a distinctive caste of female religious comparable to the nuns and abbesses of the Christian West.’
    • ‘He was especially well known among the religious sisters, the nuns of that time.’
    • ‘Soon there was also a house for nuns of which Augustine's widowed sister became ‘mother’.’
    • ‘Like Whitby in Northumbria, several of the Kentish minsters had been double houses, comprising communities of nuns and monks ruled by an abbess.’
    • ‘The purpose of these scriptures is to regulate in all detail the life within the community of monks and nuns as well as their relationship with the laity.’
    • ‘One of mother's aunts was a nun in the Sisters of the Holy Family, a black order in New Orleans.’
    • ‘It is the only Benedictine community for nuns in Ireland and, like many other orders, is experiencing a serious decline in vocations.’
    • ‘A number of priests and nuns were killed, and churches and convents were torched.’
    • ‘Not long afterward, she converted to Christianity and became a Carmelite nun.’
    • ‘She accepted only nurses over thirty years of age and refused to allow Roman Catholic nuns or other religious orders to serve.’
    • ‘More than 130 Roman Catholic priests and nuns and hundreds of other Christians were affected by the denial of visa renewals.’
    • ‘Soon the effects of the new teaching were widely felt, with monks and nuns leaving their monasteries and convents.’
    • ‘The protagonist is a Carmelite nun who is gifted with visions and who writes inspiring poetry about them.’
    • ‘The group included eight Catholic nuns, a priest, four military veterans, union organizers, and students.’
    sister, novice, abbess, prioress, Mother Superior, Reverend Mother
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  • 2Any of a number of birds whose plumage resembles a nun's habit, especially an Asian mannikin.

    1. 2.1A pigeon of a breed with a crest on its neck.


Old English nonne, from ecclesiastical Latin nonna, feminine of nonnus ‘monk’, reinforced by Old French nonne.