[noun rek-loos, ri-kloos; adjective ri-kloos, rek-loos]


a person who lives in seclusion or apart from society, often for religious meditation.
Also incluse. a religious voluntary immured in a cave, hut, or the like, or one remaining within a cell for life.

adjective re·cluse [ri-kloos, rek-loos] /rɪˈklus, ˈrɛk lus/. Also re·clu·sive.

shut off or apart from the world; living in seclusion, often for religious reasons.
characterized by seclusion; solitary.

Origin of recluse

1175–1225; Middle English < Old French reclus < Late Latin reclūsus, past participle of reclūdere to shut up, equivalent to re- re- + -clūd-, combining form of claudere to close + -tus past participle suffix, with dt > s
Related formsnon·re·clu·sive, adjectiveun·re·cluse, adjectiveun·re·clu·sive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for recluse

Contemporary Examples of recluse

Historical Examples of recluse

  • "It is a long time when it is a year of suspense," said the recluse, shaking his head.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • She did not work as devotedly as she had hoped to do, nor did she become a recluse from society.

  • He was however naturally of an abstemious and recluse disposition.


    William Godwin

  • It was Father Sergius's sixth year as a recluse, and he was now forty-nine.

    Father Sergius

    Leo Tolstoy

  • I am a recluse, have been for many years and rarely stir abroad.

British Dictionary definitions for recluse



a person who lives in seclusion
a person who lives in solitude to devote himself to prayer and religious meditation; a hermit, anchorite, or anchoress


solitary; retiring
Derived Formsreclusion (rɪˈkluːʒən), nounreclusive, adjective

Word Origin for recluse

C13: from Old French reclus, from Late Latin reclūdere to shut away, from Latin re- + claudere to close
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 recluse

c.1200, "person shut up from the world for purposes of religious meditation," from Old French reclus (fem. recluse) "hermit, recluse," also "confinement, prison; convent, monastery," noun use of reclus (adj.) "shut up," from Late Latin reclusus, past participle of recludere "to shut up, enclose" (but in classical Latin "to throw open"), from Latin re-, intensive prefix, + claudere "to shut" (see close (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper