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