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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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 Post-Apollo, when Armstrong turned recluse and Aldrin struggled with alcoholism, Mr. Collins thrived outside the glare of publicity. Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2021 The Quilloughby character on The Simpsons was a recluse who hadn’t played in public since his band the Snuffs broke up thirty years earlier. Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 20 Apr. 2021 Marcus Hutchins, who dismantled Wannacry, was one such high-school recluse. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, 19 Apr. 2021 The juveniles were of the recluse family but could not be further identified. Darcie Moran, USA TODAY, 25 Feb. 2021 After a year of living like a recluse, sacrificing birthdays and holidays with my family, I was diagnosed with the disease that has destroyed so many lives. Jennifer Adaeze Okwerekwu, STAT, 24 Mar. 2021 Emily is not the shy, timid recluse of her mythology, but a bold, brave, and ambitious writer. Emily Layden, Town & Country, 27 Feb. 2021 The juveniles were of the recluse family but could not be further identified. Darcie Moran, USA TODAY, 25 Feb. 2021 The Mediterranean recluse spiders were found in late January in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library on the school’s Ann Arbor campus. NBC News, 25 Feb. 2021

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Recluse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for recluse



English Language Learners Definition of recluse

: a person who lives alone and avoids other people


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