Can the word 'celibate' be used for women too? Is there any 'ing' form of 'celibate'? Can we also say,"She has become/turned celibate"?

  • OED do actually have an entry for celibate as a verb usage (to restrain from marriage, compel to celibacy). But the only citation is from 1659, and they say it's a "nonce-word" anyway. Most instances of celibating today are likely to either be mispronunciations of celebrating, or (either ignorant or facetious) alternatives to celibacy. – FumbleFingers Aug 30 '14 at 17:53

The word celibate can be used for a woman too.

The Huff Post Entertainment has the headline

Lady Gaga Explains Why She's Celibate

I could not find celibating from any authentic source including COCAE.


Celibacy, that is, "celibateness" cannot be acquired or "turned." Like "viriginity," it is the natural state, but once lost, it is forever lost.

  • So, what are the collocations with the word 'celebate'? – asterisk Aug 30 '14 at 19:52
  • 2
    Can you provide a citation or other reference for this? The dictionary I consulted simply defines celibate as "abstaining from marriage and sexual relations"; it makes no mention that the abstinence has to have been lifelong. The definitions given for virgin, by contrast, do make that point. – Nate Eldredge Aug 31 '14 at 19:08

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