…behind the word

Origin of the word: ABBOT/ABBESS

Abbot /masculine noun, plural: abbots/ (English): before 900

Abbess /feminine noun, plural: abbesses/ (English): 1275-1325

> In another languages:

  • Abad (m)/Abadesa (f) (Español)
  • Abade (m)/Abadessa (f) (Português)
  • Abt (m)/Äbtissin (f) (Deutsch)
  • Abbé (m)/Abbesse (f) (Français)
  • Abate (m)/Badessa (f)(Italiano)

> From:

Abbot:

  • Old English abbod:  abbot.
  • Lat. abbas, abbātis: abbot, (religious) father.
  • Gr. ἀββᾶ (‘a·bba), ἀββᾶς (‘a·bbas): abbot, (religious) father.
  • Syriac ܐܒܐ (‘a.bā): father, abbot (it’s first used with this sense in the Syrian monasteries).
  • Aramaic אבא (‘a·bā): father.

Abbess:

  • Old French abbesse, abaesse: abbess. This word replace the Old English one that had came directly from Latin.
  • Old English abadisseabbodesse: abbess.
  • Lat. abbātissa: abbess, (religious) mother (feminine of abbas).
  • Gr. ἀββᾶ (‘a·bba), ἀββᾶς (‘a·bbas): abbot, (religious) father.
  • Syriac ܐܒܐ (‘a.bā): father, abbot (it’s first used with this sense in the Syrian monasteries).
  • Aramaic אבא (‘a·bā): father.

> Meaning:

  • Present: A man who is in charge of a monastery (m)/a woman who is in charge of a convent (f) (Cambridge Dictionary). A man who is the head of an abbey of monks (m)/a woman who is the head of an abbey of nuns (f) (Oxford Dictionary).
  • Original: (Religious) father (m)/(religious) she-father (f).
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One response

  1. The word “Abbey” (convent or monastery) also comes from the same origin: Lat. abbatia (convent or monastery under an abbot or abbess).

    October 27, 2010 at 9:13 pm

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