Definition of abbot in English:



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

    • ‘He was educated by Bishop Erc of Kerry, and in time became a famous abbot and monastic founder.’
    • ‘The abbot conducts discussions and a questioning session with lower ranking monks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The monk in charge of an abbey was the abbot, elected for life by the brethren.’
    • ‘Henry I was clearly not as impressed by Benedictine abbots and their temporal grandeur as his father had been.’
    • ‘A diocesan bishop does not take on the role of father to fellow priests as an abbot does to monks.’
    • ‘If satisfied, the officiating abbot admits the postulant.’
    • ‘The abbot and other monks preferred tap water, but it was not yet available.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some chief monks - abbots - were hanged but this was a rarity.’
    • ‘At the time of the abbot's death, monks, students and residents prayed constantly for one month.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I saw Roshi only at meals, which, unlike most abbots, he took with the monks.’
    • ‘Most of the early medieval saints were bishops, abbots, and abbesses with an impeccable social pedigree.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Friaries were occupied by friars, abbeys were headed by abbots, priories by priors.’
    • ‘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.’


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