Definition of abbot in English:


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  • A man who is the head of an abbey of monks.

    ‘Friaries were occupied by friars, abbeys were headed by abbots, priories by priors.’
    • ‘He was educated by Bishop Erc of Kerry, and in time became a famous abbot and monastic founder.’
    • ‘Most of the early medieval saints were bishops, abbots, and abbesses with an impeccable social pedigree.’
    • ‘The monk in charge of an abbey was the abbot, elected for life by the brethren.’
    • ‘Some chief monks - abbots - were hanged but this was a rarity.’
    • ‘Henry I was clearly not as impressed by Benedictine abbots and their temporal grandeur as his father had been.’
    • ‘When a decision has to be made, the abbot asks each monk's opinion, starting with the youngest.’
    • ‘The alleged treachery of the abbot and monks of Ely after William seized monastic lands is blamed for the ultimate surrender.’
    • ‘At the time of the abbot's death, monks, students and residents prayed constantly for one month.’
    • ‘A diocesan bishop does not take on the role of father to fellow priests as an abbot does to monks.’
    • ‘The abbot and other monks preferred tap water, but it was not yet available.’
    • ‘Ever since the Concordat of 1516 between Francis I and Pope Leo X the king had appointed all bishops and the abbots of greater monasteries.’
    • ‘If satisfied, the officiating abbot admits the postulant.’
    • ‘On his deathbed, Cedd requested that Chad succeed him as abbot of Lastingham.’
    • ‘But the feudal system also allowed for Church functionaries, for instance the abbots of powerful monarchies, to adopt something of a baronial role.’
    • ‘In addition, the land which the monasteries owned in the name of the Church, led bishops and abbots to have distinct political power as well.’
    • ‘Breaking away from brother Viri, the abbot crossed to where Darius lay.’
    • ‘The council was attended by 500 bishops, 70 abbots and over 1,000 other clergy.’
    • ‘I saw Roshi only at meals, which, unlike most abbots, he took with the monks.’
    • ‘The abbot conducts discussions and a questioning session with lower ranking monks.’



/ˈabət/ /ˈæbət/


Old English abbod, from ecclesiastical Latin abbas, abbat-, from Greek abbas ‘father’, from Aramaic 'abbā (see Abba).