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

Synonyms for mendicant

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of mendicant in a Sentence

Noun those wretched mendicants on the streets of Calcutta
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun All these words strike me as vaguely offensive except for mendicant and supplicant. Stephen Miller, WSJ, 11 Oct. 2021 But both mendicant and supplicant have a religious connotation. Stephen Miller, WSJ, 11 Oct. 2021 The island was a coda of sorts: a place of Christian pilgrimage since the death of a local mendicant, later canonized as St. Cuthbert, in 687. Henry Wismayer, Washington Post, 8 Sep. 2021 The fortunes of alphabetical order were further advanced by the growth of mendicant preaching orders. Katherine A. Powers, WSJ, 16 Oct. 2020 Francis is the first pope to name himself after the mendicant friar, who renounced a wealthy, dissolute lifestyle to embrace a life of poverty and service to the poor. CBS News, 5 Oct. 2020 Created in 2012 by the Dominicans, a Catholic mendicant order, Optic has the goal of ensuring that emerging technologies respect human dignity. Rebecca Heilweil, Fortune, 24 Nov. 2019 The convent houses the nearly 800-year-old tomb of Saint Francis, the most poetic of holy men, who thought money was worth less than asses’ dung and inspired a mendicant order. The Economist, 7 Sep. 2019 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, 21 June 2018 See More

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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mendicant order

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Cite this Entry

“Mendicant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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


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