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

anchorite, eremite, hermit, isolate, solitary

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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


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

Sure, there was a bit of intrigue: A previous owner was said to be a recluse, neighbors revealed. Real Estate, "From creepy to cool: Buyers are finding unusual things hidden in their homes," 28 Aug. 2019 The venom of a brown recluse can cause a severe lesion by destroying skin tissue (skin necrosis). Ashley Boucher,, "Woman Thought She Had Water in Her Ear — Turns Out It Was a Venomous Brown Recluse Spider," 23 Aug. 2019 But the thump wasn’t enough against the lure of pop recluse Sky Ferreira, who was scheduled to hit the Green Stage at 4:15. Jessi Roti,, "Pitchfork Music Fest 2019: 14 things we loved from a sweaty day 1," 19 July 2019 Ni Jiajia, 26, described herself as a recluse and said attending the class forced her to get out. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "In a workaholic China, the stressed-out find a refuge with monks and Sanskrit," 6 Aug. 2019 She is returned to her father, a rich recluse who is made more eccentric by grief. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "In Mark Haddon’s “The Porpoise,” Storytelling Is an Instrument of Violence and Solace," 13 June 2019 The fifth season of Black Mirror features Andrew Scott as a gun-wielding Uber driver and Topher Grace as a long-haired recluse. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "Miley Cyrus Says That Her 'Black Mirror' Episode Is Based on Her Actual Life," 5 June 2019 Bernstein stressed Bacall was far from a recluse and instead, enjoyed her life beyond Hollywood’s glitz and glam. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Leonard Bernstein's daughter says pal Lauren Bacall 'was not a shut-in' after Humphrey Bogart's death in new memoir," 13 Sep. 2018 Release: January 18, 2019 Preliminary verdict: Looks promising In 2016, M. Night Shyamalan released Split, an unassuming psychological thriller starring James McAvoy as a recluse suffering from split personality disorder. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "The 2019 Sci-Fi Film Guide," 3 Jan. 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

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Time Traveler for recluse

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

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English Language Learners Definition of recluse

: a person who lives alone and avoids other people

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Comments on recluse

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


to make a temporary encampment

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