a member of the secular clergy.
a title of respect for any ecclesiastic or clergyman.
Historical Examples

The abbes and the Bishops and the priests are alike distrustful and hostile.
A Heroine of France Evelyn Everett-Green

The secret of the Lesbians was only employed, however, by the abbes and the castrata.
The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

The two abbes escaped as they best could, under protection of a number of friends.
Wonderful Balloon Ascents Fulgence Marion

Although a man who frequents the society of abbes is not thought much more of than one who frequents the society of girls.
The Memoires of Casanova, Complete Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

The fact is, he can not get out of it; he has met the two abbes, twice running, at Ernestine’s.
Monsieur, Madame and Bebe, Complete Gustave Droz

So that whan sche receyueth newe, sche moste restore the olde to the abbes.
Medieval English Nunneries c. 1275 to 1535 Eileen Edna Power

The young abbes had taken Care to engross them so, that there seemd to be no Possibility of coming near them.
The Memoirs of Charles-Lewis, Baron de Pollnitz, Volume IV Karl Ludwig von Pllnitz

The house in question had always been occupied by abbes, and it belonged to an old maid named Mademoiselle Gamard.
The Vicar of Tours Honore de Balzac

These two Italian abbes were ne plus ultras in luxury and effeminacy.
The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims Andrew Steinmetz

Your friends the abbes are well, and always speak of you with affection.
Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson

a French abbot
a title used in addressing any other French cleric, such as a priest
Ernst. 1840–1905, German physicist, noted for his work in optics and the microscope condenser known as the Abbe condenser

1520s, title given in France to “every one who wears an ecclesiastical dress,” especially one having no assigned ecclesiastical duty, from French abbé, from Late Latin abbatem, accusative of abbas (see abbot).


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