Definition of celibate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsɛlɪbət/


1Abstaining from marriage and sexual relations, typically for religious reasons: a celibate priest
More example sentences
  • Large numbers did not marry at all, deciding to remain celibate, some for religious reasons, others, it has been suggested, due to a certain embarrassment about sex.
  • Religious dress and grave goods were used to differentiate celibate priests and monks from ordinary secular men.
  • The Boston archdiocese's official newspaper said this week the Roman Catholic Church must face the question of whether to continue to require priests to be celibate.
1.1Having or involving no sexual relations: a celibate lifestyle
More example sentences
  • Maude Guérin plays a lone wolf detective in the Prime Suspect mold - a single woman on the Quebec City homicide squad whose celibate lifestyle is legendary.
  • This is one example of the way technology has been harnessed to ensure that if a woman didn't want to get pregnant, she could take steps to ensure that this didn't happen, without opting for a celibate lifestyle.
  • Mitropoulos, who appears to have led a largely celibate lifestyle, nevertheless seems to have known enough about love and lust to portray them unforgettably in music.
unmarried, single, unwed, spouseless, wifeless, husbandless;
chaste, virginal, virgin, maidenly, maiden, intact, abstinent, self-denying, self-restrained, ascetic;
monkish, monklike, nunnish, nunlike, monastic
rare continent


A person who abstains from marriage and sexual relations: he’s attracted and attractive to women and yet he lives as a celibate
More example sentences
  • The leaves are said to be invigorating and an aphrodisiac and, therefore, not to be used by celibates and ascetics.
  • So common was lifelong celibacy and so little accepted were Freudian theories about the dominance of the sexual impulse, that nobody questioned these celibates or looked at them askance.
  • People over 60 are expected to be sexless creatures or, at any rate, celibates.


Early 19th century (earlier (mid 17th century) as celibacy): from French célibat or Latin caelibatus 'unmarried state' + -ate2.

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Line breaks: celi|bate

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