men·​di·​cant | \ ˈmen-di-kənt How to pronounce mendicant (audio) \

Definition of mendicant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : beggar sense 1 wandering mendicants
2 often capitalized : a member of a religious order (such as the Franciscans) combining monastic life and outside religious activity and originally owning neither personal nor community property : friar



Definition of mendicant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : practicing beggary : engaged in begging Past the Winter Garden where Cats plays on … past the half-hour photo store, past the mendicant saxophone player on the corner.— Margot Hornblower My father also gave me quarters to give to homeless, mendicant men along the route, even though our family was very poor.— Phil Kronk
2 : of, relating to, belonging to, or constituting a religious order combining monastic life and outside religious activity and originally owning neither personal nor community property mendicant friars Friars should not be confused with monks. Members of the mendicant orders are friars, and include Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, Servites and Carmelites.— Leslie Sellers

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Synonyms for mendicant

Synonyms: Noun

beggar, panhandler

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Examples of mendicant in a Sentence


those wretched mendicants on the streets of Calcutta

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But for all of their contempt, Egyptian rulers have become mendicants at the feet of the kings, emirs and sultans of the Gulf. The Economist, "A wild rideRadical reforms in Saudi Arabia are changing the Gulf and the Arab world," 21 June 2018

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

First Known Use of mendicant


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for mendicant


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin mendicant-, mendicans, present participle of mendicare to beg, from mendicus beggar — more at amend

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The first known use of mendicant was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of mendicant

formal : someone (such as a member of a religious group) who lives by asking people for money or food

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Spanish Central: Translation of mendicant

Nglish: Translation of mendicant for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about mendicant

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What made you want to look up mendicant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


food or victuals

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