an·​cho·​rite | \ ˈaŋ-kə-ˌrīt How to pronounce anchorite (audio) \
variants: or less commonly anchoret \ ˈaŋ-​kə-​ˌret How to pronounce anchoret (audio) \

Definition of anchorite

: a person who lives in seclusion usually for religious reasons

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Other Words from anchorite

anchoritic \ ˌaŋ-​kə-​ˈri-​tik How to pronounce anchoritic (audio) \ adjective
anchoritically \ ˌaŋ-​kə-​ˈri-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce anchoritically (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

The term "anchor" was being used for religious hermits about 450 years before "anchorite" came into common use in our language. The reclusive "anchor" and "anchorite" are both derived from the Late Latin anachoreta, which, in turn, can be traced to the Greek anachōrein, meaning "to withdraw." Are they etymologically related to the kind of anchors you find on ships? Not exactly. The Latin root of sea-going "anchor," "anchora," probably influenced the spelling and pronunciation of the words that led to "anchorite" and the reclusive "anchor," but it is not a direct ancestor.

Examples of anchorite in a Sentence

many Christian saints were anchorites who removed themselves from the world to focus on their spirituality
Recent Examples on the Web Perhaps our lives now more closely resemble ancient anchorites, religious recluses who lived alone in rooms adjoining churches, said Cathleen Kaveny, a Catholic theologian at Boston College. Daniel Burke, CNN, "Quarantine life is starting to feel like a real Lent," 5 Apr. 2020 In other instances, anchorites became wise people to visit and from whom to seek council. Los Angeles Times, "Reading Nook: For Rivka Galchen, subways are for reading," 12 Sep. 2019 But there are certainly similarities between the anchorite and the handmaid. Annie Sutherland, Quartzy, "“The Handmaid’s Tale” costume is now the ultimate symbol of women’s rights," 13 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anchorite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anchorite

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for anchorite

Middle English, from Medieval Latin anchorita, alteration of Late Latin anachoreta, from Late Greek anachōrētēs, from Greek anachōrein to withdraw, from ana- + chōrein to make room, from chōros place

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Time Traveler for anchorite

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The first known use of anchorite was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Anchorite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for anchorite


How to pronounce anchorite (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of anchorite

: a religious person who lives apart from other people

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More from Merriam-Webster on anchorite

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for anchorite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with anchorite Encyclopedia article about anchorite

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