- a person who abstains from sexual relations.
- a person who remains unmarried, especially for religious reasons.
- observing or pertaining to sexual abstention or a religious vow not to marry.
- not married.
- a person who is unmarried, esp one who has taken a religious vow of chastity
- unmarried, esp by vow
- abstaining from sexual intercourse
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.