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Ab"bey (ăb"bӗ), n.; pl. Abbeys (-bĭz). [OF. aba&ï;e, abba&ï;e, F. abbaye, L. abbatia, fr. abbas abbot. See Abbot.] 1. A monastery or society of persons of either sex, secluded from the world and devoted to religion and celibacy; also, the monastic building or buildings.
&hand_; The men are called monks, and governed by an abbot; the women are called nuns, and governed by an abbess.
2. The church of a monastery.
In London, the Abbey means Westminster Abbey, and in Scotland, the precincts of the Abbey of Holyrood. The name is also retained for a private residence on the site of an abbey; as, Newstead Abbey, the residence of Lord Byron.
Syn. -- Monastery; convent; nunnery; priory; cloister. See Cloister.