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celibate

[sel-uh-bit, -beyt] /ˈsɛl ə bɪt, -ˌbeɪt/
noun
1.
a person who abstains from sexual relations.
2.
a person who remains unmarried, especially for religious reasons.
adjective
3.
observing or pertaining to sexual abstention or a religious vow not to marry.
4.
not married.
Origin of celibate
1605-1615
1605-15; < Latin caelib- (stem of caelebs) unmarried + -ate1
Related forms
noncelibate, adjective
uncelibate, adjective
Can be confused
celebrate, celibate, cerebrate.
celibate, chased, chaste, chest.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for celibate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She has represented a celibate priesthood as a greater ideal than a married priesthood.

  • A celibate religion ever suspects the serpent in the neighbourhood of the woman.

    Devil-Worship in France Arthur Edward Waite
  • The last day of Kophetua's celibate reign began with a formidable riot.

    Kophetua the Thirteenth Julian Corbett
  • This particular specimen of the genus was both a vegetarian and a celibate.

    Seen and Unseen E. Katharine Bates
  • Yesterday he had seriously believed himself to be a celibate for life; he had dismissed for ever the hope of happiness.

    The Roll-Call Arnold Bennett
British Dictionary definitions for celibate

celibate

/ˈsɛlɪbɪt/
noun
1.
a person who is unmarried, esp one who has taken a religious vow of chastity
adjective
2.
unmarried, esp by vow
3.
abstaining from sexual intercourse
Derived Forms
celibacy, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin caelibātus, from caelebs unmarried, of obscure origin
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 celibate
n.

1610s, "state of celibacy" (especially as mandated to clergy in the Catholic church) from French célibat (16c.), from Latin caelibatus (see celibacy). This was the only sense until earl 19c. The adjective meaning "unmarried, sworn to remain single" is recorded from 1825. As a noun, one who is sworn to such a condition, from 1838.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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