Definition of nun in English:



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

    • ‘It is the only Benedictine community for nuns in Ireland and, like many other orders, is experiencing a serious decline in vocations.’
    • ‘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 bias against celibacy prevents the emergence of a distinctive caste of female religious comparable to the nuns and abbesses of the Christian West.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Not long afterward, she converted to Christianity and became a Carmelite nun.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was especially well known among the religious sisters, the nuns of that time.’
    • ‘Soon the effects of the new teaching were widely felt, with monks and nuns leaving their monasteries and convents.’
    • ‘A number of priests and nuns were killed, and churches and convents were torched.’
    • ‘Once a year I spend a weekend at a Buddhist monastery populated by a community of monks and nuns.’
    • ‘One of mother's aunts was a nun in the Sisters of the Holy Family, a black order in New Orleans.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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
    bride of christ, religious, conventual, contemplative
    View synonyms
  • 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.