re·​cluse | \ ˈre-ˌklüs How to pronounce recluse (audio) , ri-ˈklüs, ˈre-ˌklüz How to pronounce recluse (audio) \

Definition of recluse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: marked by withdrawal from society : solitary



Definition of recluse (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who leads a secluded or solitary life

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Synonyms for recluse

Synonyms: Noun

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Did You Know?

Greta Garbo and Howard Hughes were two of the most famously reclusive celebrities of modern times. She had been a great international star, called the most beautiful woman in the world; he had been an aircraft manufacturer and film producer, with one of the greatest fortunes in the world. It seems that Garbo's reclusiveness resulted from her desire to leave her public with only the youthful image of her face. Hughes was terrified of germs, though that was the least of his problems.

Examples of recluse in a Sentence

Noun My neighbor is a recluse—I only see him about once a year. he was sick of cities and crowds, so he decided to go live by himself in the woods as a recluse
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For some — like the happily partnered or the content recluse — the directive might not be difficult to follow. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, "You could use a hug. Here are some safe options," 23 June 2020 Rose, who starts out put together and in control, starts to unravel, while Shirley, who begins the film as a near-recluse, becomes more confident in her own brand of success. Anne Cohen,, "Shirley Isn’t A Biopic — It’s A Horror Story More Terrifying Than Haunting Of Hill House," 8 June 2020 Brown recluse spiders are usually found in garages, attics, closets and other dark and dusty places. Howard Garrett, Dallas News, "How to identify the good and bad spiders in your house and garden," 2 June 2020 There is no proof that anyone has ever died from a brown recluse. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, "Too many spiders? It’s just a cosmetic issue.," 10 Sep. 2019 For some people, however, even the company of fellow recluses was too much. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, "Self-isolation has its roots in ancient times," 23 Apr. 2020 As for those rumors about the actress being a recluse in Paris in her later years? Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Marlene Dietrich's grandson addresses rumors about her private life, denies she died a recluse," 28 Mar. 2018 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 Besides, recluse has an air of eccentricity about it. Sarah Fay, Longreads, "On Solitude (and Isolation and Loneliness [and Brackets])," 17 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recluse.' 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 recluse


13th century, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for recluse


Middle English, from Anglo-French reclus, literally, shut away, from Late Latin reclusus, past participle of recludere to shut up, from Latin re- + claudere to close — more at close entry 1

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Time Traveler for recluse

Time Traveler

The first known use of recluse was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Recluse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of recluse

: a person who lives alone and avoids other people

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