Definition of celibate in English:


Syllabification: cel·i·bate
Pronunciation: /ˈseləbət


  • 1Abstaining from marriage and sexual relations, typically for religious reasons: a celibate priest
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    • 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: I’d rather stay single and celibate
    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; chaste, virginal, virgin, maidenly, maiden, intact, abstinent, self-denying


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  • A person who abstains from marriage and sexual relations.
    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: from celibacy, on the pattern of pairs such as magistracy, magistrate.

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