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mendicant

[men-di-kuh nt]
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adjective
  1. begging; practicing begging; living on alms.
  2. pertaining to or characteristic of a beggar.
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noun
  1. a person who lives by begging; beggar.
  2. a member of any of several orders of friars that originally forbade ownership of property, subsisting mostly on alms.
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Origin of mendicant

1425–75; late Middle English < Latin mendīcant- (stem of mendīcāns), present participle of mendīcāre to beg, equivalent to mendīc(us) beggarly, needy + -ant- -ant
Related formsnon·men·di·cant, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mendicant

Historical Examples

  • In passing the coins their eyes met, and the mendicant started.

    The False Chevalier

    William Douw Lighthall

  • It would be a disgrace on my house to have him become a mendicant.

    The Buddha

    Paul Carus

  • Oh, I'd forgive him all, and e'en his flight, Had only he not turned a mendicant.

    The Buddha

    Paul Carus

  • In a way of speaking, this mendicant of Coney Island was perhaps of this class.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb

  • The order of scholars has ceased to be mendicant, vagabond, and eremite.


British Dictionary definitions for mendicant

mendicant

adjective
  1. begging
  2. (of a member of a religious order) dependent on alms for sustenancemendicant friars
  3. characteristic of a beggar
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noun
  1. a mendicant friar
  2. a less common word for beggar
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Derived Formsmendicancy or mendicity (mɛnˈdɪsɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin mendīcāre to beg, from mendīcus beggar, from mendus flaw
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 mendicant

adj.

late 14c., from Latin mendicantem (nominative mendicans) present participle of mendicare "to beg, ask alms," from mendicus "beggar," originally "cripple" (connection via cripples who must beg), from menda "fault, physical defect" (see mendacious). As an adjective from 1540s. Also in Middle English was mendinant (mid-14c.), from Old French mendinant, present participle of mendiner "to beg," from the same Latin source.

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n.

"a beggar," mid-15c., from mendicant (adj.) or from Latin mendicantem (nominative mendicans), noun use of present participle of mendicare.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper