[ muhngk ]
/ mʌŋk /
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(in Christianity) a man who has withdrawn from the world for religious reasons, especially as a member of an order of cenobites living according to a particular rule and under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
(in any religion) a man who is a member of a monastic order: a Buddhist monk.
Printing. a dark area on a printed page caused by uneven inking of the plate or type.Compare friar (def. 2).
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of monk

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English munuc, from Late Latin monachus, from Greek monachós “hermit,” noun use of adjective: “solitary,” equivalent to món(os) “alone” + -achos adjective suffix

synonym study for monk

1. Monk, friar refer to members of special male groups whose lives are devoted to the service of the church, especially in Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox denominations. A monk is properly a member of a monastery, under a superior; he is bound by a vow of stability, and is a co-owner of the community property of the monastery. Since the Reformation, monk and friar have been used as if they were the same. A friar is, however, strictly speaking, a member of a mendicant order, whose members are not attached to a monastery and own no community property.

historical usage of monk

Monk, as its etymology makes clear, originally meant “a man who has withdrawn from the world for religious reasons,” in Greek, monachós “a hermit,” a derivative of the adjective mónos “alone” (as in monarch “sole ruler”).
During the Protestant Reformation (from 1530 on), the meaning of monk was extended to refer specifically to members of such orders as Carmelites, Franciscans, and Dominicans, who originally subsisted by begging for alms. These mendicants (from Latin mendīcāre “to beg”) are, technically speaking, called friars, from Old French frere, from Latin frāter “brother.”

Other definitions for monk (2 of 2)

[ muhngk ]
/ mʌŋk /

(James) Arthur "Art", born 1957, U.S. football player.
The·lo·ni·ous [thuh-loh-nee-uhs] /θəˈloʊ ni əs/ (Sphere), 1917–1982, U.S. jazz pianist and composer.
George. Monck, George.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use monk in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for monk (1 of 2)

/ (mʌŋk) /

a male member of a religious community bound by vows of poverty, chastity, and obedienceRelated adjective: monastic
(sometimes capital) a fancy pigeon having a bald pate and often large feathered feet

Word Origin for monk

Old English munuc, from Late Latin monachus, from Late Greek: solitary (man), from Greek monos alone

British Dictionary definitions for monk (2 of 2)

/ (mʌŋk) /

Thelonious (Sphere) (θəˈləʊnɪəs). 1920–82, US jazz pianist and composer
a variant spelling of (George) Monck
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