Celibate and Chaste

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How to use the words Celibate and Chaste?

Believe it or not, you can be celibate without being chaste, and chaste without being celibate.

A celibate person is merely unmarried, usually (but not always) because of a vow of celibacy.

The traditional assumption is that such a person is not having sex with anyone, which leads many to confuse the word with “chaste,” denoting someone who does not have illicit sex.

A woman could have wild sex twice a day with her lawful husband and technically still be chaste, though the word is more often used to imply a general abstemiousness from sex and sexuality.

You can always amuse your readers by misspelling the latter word as “chased.”

Common Errors Index

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