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 Besides, recluse has an air of eccentricity about it. Sarah Fay, Longreads, "On Solitude (and Isolation and Loneliness [and Brackets])," 17 Mar. 2020 With the coronavirus outbreak largely unchecked, now is a time when many people are looking to get in touch with their inner recluse. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "5 tech tips that may keep you safer from coronavirus," 11 Mar. 2020 This expansion has happened while Tan remains a relative recluse compared to other modern chefs. Jason W. Lloren,, "Bay Briefing: Coronavirus, class and ‘social distancing’," 9 Mar. 2020 And so Eleanor searched for her own reason to feel complete, first helping the Medium Place resident recluse Mindy St. Clair (Maribeth Monroe) resolve to make human connections and take the afterlife test (to be administered by Tahani). Dan Snierson,, "The Good Place finale: Kristen Bell on the emotional 'tough-love ending'," 31 Jan. 2020 The president never fully recovered, becoming a virtual recluse and she his gatekeeper and caretaker, a role harking back to her years with Grandmother Bolling. Washington Post, "The western Virginia town that raised a forward-thinking first lady," 10 Jan. 2020 Tourists aren’t too common; artists and recluses are. Kenneth R. Rosen, The New Yorker, "Under Lockdown in Italy’s Coronavirus-Quarantine Zone," 27 Feb. 2020 The indifferent nature of the plotting involves basically beginning the story in the middle, with the heartbroken Dr. Dolittle having become a recluse, shunning people after the death of his beloved wife. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Dolittle' somehow turns talking to animals into a colossal bore," 16 Jan. 2020 More than half of Japan’s recluses are now aged over 40, according to a Cabinet Office survey this year. The Economist, "Mental health in Japan A growing number of Japanese have become recluses," 28 Nov. 2019

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 29 Mar. 2020.

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English Language Learners Definition of recluse

: a person who lives alone and avoids other people

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