noun \ˈhər-mət\

: a person who lives in a simple way apart from others especially for religious reasons

Full Definition of HERMIT

a :  one that retires from society and lives in solitude especially for religious reasons :  recluse
b obsolete :  beadsman
:  a spiced molasses cookie
her·mit·ism \ˈhər-mə-ˌti-zəm\ noun

Examples of HERMIT

  1. <St. Jerome is said to have spent two years as a hermit in the desert, searching for inner peace.>

Origin of HERMIT

Middle English heremite, eremite, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin eremita, from Late Greek erēmitēs, from Greek, adjective, living in the desert, from erēmia desert, from erēmos desolate
First Known Use: 12th century

Related to HERMIT

Rhymes with HERMIT


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Individual who shuns society to live in solitude, often for religious reasons. The first Christian hermits appeared in Egypt in the 3rd century AD, escaping persecution by withdrawing to the desert and leading a life of prayer and penance. The first hermit was probably Paul of Thebes c. AD 250. Other famous hermits included St. Anthony of Egypt, who established an early form of Christian monasticism in the 4th century, and the pillar hermit Simeon Stylites. The communal life of monasteries eventually tempered the austerities of the hermit's life. In Western Christianity the eremitic life died out, but it has persisted in Eastern Christianity.

Variants of HERMIT

hermit or eremite


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