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See more synonyms for anchorite on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person who has retired to a solitary place for a life of religious seclusion; hermit.
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Also anchoret.

Origin of anchorite

1400–50; late Middle English anc(h)orite, conflation of Middle English ancre (Old English ancra, ancer) and Old French anacorite or Medieval Latin anachōrīta < Late Greek anachōrētḗs, equivalent to Greek anachōrē-, stem of anachōreîn to withdraw (ana- ana- + chōreîn to give way, verbal derivative of chôros space) + -tēs agent suffix; Old English forms < Old Irish *ancharae < Late Latin anachōrēta < Late Greek
Related formsan·cho·rit·ic [ang-kuh-rit-ik] /ˌæŋ kəˈrɪt ɪk/, adjectivean·cho·rit·i·cal·ly, adverban·cho·rit·ism [ang-kuh-rahy-tiz-uh m] /ˈæŋ kə raɪˌtɪz əm/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for anchorite

Historical Examples

  • He was, to the eyes of men, studious and holy as an anchorite.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 327


  • The church itself was frequently the habitation of the anchorite.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • Why that man has conversation for the prince and the peasant—the courtier and the anchorite.

  • At the Tambov hermitage the anchorite Hilary, a man of saintly life, has died.

    Father Sergius

    Leo Tolstoy

  • He lived in Paris more lonely than an anchorite in the deserts of Thebes.

    The Moon and Sixpence

    W. Somerset Maugham

British Dictionary definitions for anchorite


  1. a person who lives in seclusion, esp a religious recluse; hermit
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Derived Formsanchoress, fem n

Word Origin

C15: from Medieval Latin anchorīta, from Late Latin anachōrēta, from Greek anakhōrētēs, from anakhōrein to retire, withdraw, from khōra a space
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for anchorite


mid-15c., "hermit (especially those of the Eastern deserts), recluse, one who withdraws from the world for religious reasons," from Medieval Latin anchorita, from Greek anakhoretes, literally "one who has retired," agent noun from anakhorein "to retreat, go back, retire," from ana- "back" (see ana-) + khorein "withdraw, give place," from khoros "place, space, free space, room." Replaced Old English ancer, from Late Latin anchoreta.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper