Definition of monastery in English:



  • A building or buildings occupied by a community of monks living under religious vows.

    • ‘In 1752 he became a monk at the monastery of the Escorial, and a year later was admitted to holy orders.’
    • ‘In the middle of the 19th century abbot of the monastery was a monk named Genadii.’
    • ‘Shenouda subjected monasteries, long immune from episcopal control, to his papacy.’
    • ‘He chose Lindisfarne as his base and established a church and monastery here.’
    • ‘In some monasteries, religious work was defined as tending the soul by contemplating God.’
    • ‘Griffiths thinks monasteries have the last, best chance at keeping this ancient tradition alive.’
    • ‘Large monasteries were known as abbeys, whilst smaller ones were called priories and were often set up near an abbey.’
    • ‘For example, in medieval monasteries the abbot's rule was definitive.’
    • ‘A number of Anglo-Norman monasteries received Norman monks, not least in order to further the Conquest.’
    • ‘There are also monasteries where monks and nuns practice a life of religious devotion and scholarship.’
    • ‘When monasteries die out, the patriarch sells the property cheaply to pay his bills.’
    • ‘The monasteries were also the birthplace of scholasticism.’
    • ‘Soon the effects of the new teaching were widely felt, with monks and nuns leaving their monasteries and convents.’
    • ‘There were more than 6000 monasteries and nunneries in the three regions of Tibet - U-Tsang, Dotö and Domey.’
    • ‘He was on his way to visit his brother Raimond, who was a monk in the Dominican monastery there.’
    • ‘Today, ashrams and monasteries of various Hindu sects keep the traditions of classical learning alive.’
    • ‘Wine has always had spiritual and religious significance, and monks and monasteries have long been regarded as playing a crucial part in wine history.’
    • ‘Some monasteries lived by this rule: Speak only if you can improve upon silence.’
    • ‘The number of parishes and monasteries has grown substantially with the restoration of religious freedom.’
    • ‘He had an equally high-handed way with the monasteries in his diocese and in his filet year as bishop deposed no fewer than eleven abbots and priors.’
    religious house, religious community
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: via ecclesiastical Latin from ecclesiastical Greek monastērion, from monazein ‘live alone’, from monos ‘alone’.