1 : a member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves
2 : a person characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes
"At the end of the valley, as John Bunyan mentions, is a cavern, where, in his days, dwelt two cruel giants, Pope and Pagan, who had strown the ground about their residence with the bones of slaughtered pilgrims. These vile old troglodytes are no longer there.…" - From Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Celestial Railroad," 1843.
"I am not on any social media, don't tweet, don't blog, don't text, have no Facebook page; connected only by the umbilical tether of email. Guess that makes me a troglodyte." - From a column by Rosie DiManno in The Toronto Star, November 23, 2012
Did You Know?
Peer into the etymological cave of "troglodyte" and you’ll find a "trōglē." But don't be afraid. "Trōglē" may sound like a scary cave-dwelling ogre, but it's actually just a perfectly unintimidating Greek root that means "hole" or "cave." Is "troglodyte" the only English word to have descended from "trōglē"? Not exactly. "Troglodyte" and its related adjective "troglodytic" (meaning "of, related to, or being a troglodyte") are the only "trōglē" offspring that are widely used in general English contexts, but another "trōglē" progeny, the prefix "troglo-," meaning "cave-dwelling," is used in scientific contexts to form words like "troglobiont" ("an animal living in or restricted to caves").
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What is a spelunker? The answer is …