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 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 Consider this my public service announcement one for all the grinches, the recluses, and sufferers of seasonal affective disorder. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "The Profound Loneliness of Christmas," 20 Dec. 2019 The website, operated by recluse Matt Drudge, who was at one point extremely supportive of the president, highlighted critical commentary on Wednesday from George Conway and Judge Napolitano. Oliver Darcy, CNN, "More details emerge as Trump-Ukraine story dominates," 26 Sep. 2019 Granted, there wasn't much mystery that the strange, wealthy recluse with robotic servants was Adrian Veidt (Jeremy Irons), a.k.a. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Watchmen' brings its master plan into focus, layering the old onto the new," 2 Dec. 2019 But on the biographical front, the popular image of Dickinson as a fragile, fey, romantically disappointed recluse has been harder to shake. Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, "A Very Modern Emily Dickinson (Twerking Included)," 30 Oct. 2019 All but a recluse since playing his last NHL games for Dallas in 2013-14, Thomas turned 45 in April., ", Mark Pavelich," 7 Dec. 2019 Apple Decades of high school English classes inscribed in the popular imagination a vision of Emily Dickinson as a stern, asexual recluse. Judy Berman, Time, "The Best New TV Characters of 2019," 6 Dec. 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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Statistics for recluse

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recluse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

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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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