1. a church associated with a monastery or convent
2. a convent ruled by an abbess
3. a monastery ruled by an abbot
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Abbey \Ab"bey\ ([a^]b"b[y^]), n.; pl. Abbeys (-b[i^]z). [OF.
aba["i]e, abba["i]e, F. abbaye, L. abbatia, fr. abbas 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.
Note: 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.
Note: 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
Syn: Monastery; convent; nunnery; priory; cloister. See
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: a church associated with a monastery or convent
2: a convent ruled by an abbess
3: a monastery ruled by an abbot
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
ABBEY, abbatia, is a society of religious persons, having an abbot or abbess
to preside over them. Formerly some of the most considerable abbots and
priors in England had seats and votes in the house of lords. The prior of
St. John's of Jerusalem, was styled the first baron of England, in respect
to the lay barons, but he was the last of the spiritual barons.