A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion. The terms "convent" or "nunnery" almost invariably refers to a community of women in modern English usage (from 18th century), while "monastery", "priory" or "friary" is used for men; but in historical usage they are often interchangeable.
Technically, a "monastery" or "nunnery" is a community of monastics, whereas a "convent" is a community of mendicants ("friary" specifying a male community specifically), and a "canonry" a community of canons regular. The terms "abbey" and "priory" can be applied to both monasteries and canonries and distinguish those headed by an Abbot from the lesser dependent houses headed by a Prior.
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