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[uh-pos-tuh-see] /əˈpɒs tə si/
noun, plural apostasies.
a total desertion of or departure from one's religion, principles, party, cause, etc.
Origin of apostasy
1350-1400; Middle English apostasye (< Anglo-French) < Late Latin apostasia < Greek: a standing away, withdrawing, equivalent to apóstas(is) (apo- apo- + sta- stand + -sis -sis) + -ia -ia Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for apostasy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At Burnham there is the case of Margery Hedsor, who was excommunicated at intervals for apostasy between 1311 and 1317.

  • And he averted his head from her, as though from a temptation to apostasy.

    Sacrifice Stephen French Whitman
  • His family tries every means to bring him back and to punish his apostasy.

  • Their commander purchased his life by apostasy and a treasonable oath.

    Peter the Hermit Daniel A. Goodsell
  • But it is worse than schism to separate from the universal church: to separate from its faith is apostasy to infidelity.

British Dictionary definitions for apostasy


noun (pl) -sies
abandonment of one's religious faith, party, a cause, etc
Word Origin
C14: from Church Latin apostasia, from Greek apostasis desertion, from apostanai to stand apart from, desert
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for apostasy

late 14c., "renunciation, abandonment or neglect of established religion," from Latin apostasia, from later Greek apostasia, from apostasis "revolt, defection," literally "a standing off" (see apostate). General (non-religious) sense is attested from 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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