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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Anchorite \An"cho*rite\, n. Same as Anchoret.


Anchoret \An"cho*ret\, Anchorite \An"cho*rite\, n. [F. anachor[`e]te, L. anachoreta, fr. Gr. ?, fr. ? to go back, retire; ? + ? to give place, retire, ? place; perh. akin to Skr. h[=a] to leave. Cf. Anchor a hermit.] One who renounces the world and secludes himself, usually for religious reasons; a hermit; a recluse. [Written by some authors anachoret.]

Our Savior himself . . . did not choose an anchorite's or a monastic life, but a social and affable way of conversing with mortals.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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.


n. One who lives in isolation or seclusion, especially for religious reasons.


n. one retired from society for religious reasons [syn: hermit]


An anchorite or anchoret (female: anchoress; adj. anchoritic; from , anachōrētḗs, "one who has retired from the world", from the verb , anachōréō, signifying "to withdraw", "to retire") is someone who, for religious reasons, withdraws from secular society so as to be able to lead an intensely prayer-oriented, ascetic, and—circumstances permitting— Eucharist-focused life. Whilst anchorites are frequently considered to be a type of religious hermit, unlike hermits they were required to take a vow of stability of place, opting instead for permanent enclosure in cells often attached to churches. Also unlike hermits, anchorites were subject to a religious rite of consecration that closely resembled the funeral rite, following which—theoretically, at least—they would be considered dead to the world, a type of living saint. Anchorites had a certain autonomy, as they did not answer to any ecclesiastical authority other than the bishop.

The anchoritic life is one of the earliest forms of Christian monastic living. In the Roman Catholic Church today it is one of the " Other Forms of Consecrated Life" and governed by the same norms as the consecrated eremitic life. From the twelfth to the sixteenth century, female anchorites consistently outnumbered their male equivalents, sometimes by as many as four to one (in the thirteenth century), dropping eventually to two to one (in the fifteenth century). However, there is also a high number of anchorites whose sex is not recorded for these periods.

Anchorite (disambiguation)

An anchorite (feminine form anchoress) is a Christian person who lives in strict physical separation from secular society.

Anchorite or Anchoress may also refer to:

  • The Anchorite, a 1976 Spanish film
  • HMS Anchorite (P422), a Royal Navy submarine of the Second A Class
  • Anchorite, a kind of Azalea (Glenn Dale hybrid)
  • Anchorite, a member of the Aldor religious order in World of Warcraft
  • Anchoress (film), a 1993 British film

Usage examples of "anchorite".

Sociology, which the anchorite said she read more for amusement than insight, but which Cale found fascinating for the descriptions of large numbers of people living together in cities on different worlds.

But as the anchorite had said, no sign of hills or mountains as far as he could see--it seemed that this wasteland truly stretched into a strange, lost infinity.

He was certain the anchorite was right, and that out on that desert these people would find only their deaths.

For some reason he was reminded of pictures of church sanctuaries the anchorite had shown him.

The anchorite had shown Cale several alphabets, including the odd letters she had said were Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, and Cyrillic, as well as the Asian ideographic systems, but nothing in any of her books had even vaguely resembled these figures.

Lupe said he had not expected it, although it was foretold by an anchorite years before.

An anchorite had given it to him in Aeolis, at the beginning of his adventures.

It was a ceramic disc, an ancient coin exactly like the coin the anchorite had given him.

And he remembered that although he had lost the coin which the anchorite had given him, he had found a replacement.

I wished he had spent his gold on himself and left me poor, for it seemed to me I had need of nothing save the little I earned by my pen--I was content to live an anchorite and dine off a crust for the sake of the divine Muse I worshipped.

Art thou an anchorite, good Theos, and wouldst thou have me scourge my flesh and groan, because the gods have given me youth and vigorous manhood?

If, as has chanced to others--as chanced, for example, to Mangan-- outcast from home, health and hope, with a charred past and a bleared future, an anchorite without detachment and self-cloistered without self-sufficingness, deposed from a world which he had not abdicated, pierced with thorns which formed no crown, a poet hopeless of the bays and a martyr hopeless of the palm, a land cursed against the dews of love, an exile banned and proscribed even from the innocent arms of childhood--he were burning helpless at the stake of his unquenchable heart, then he might have been inconsolable, then might he have cast the gorge at life, then have cowered in the darkening chamber of his being, tapestried with mouldering hopes, and hearkened to the winds that swept across the illimitable wastes of death.

The only room which suggested nothing of the anchorite was the dressingroom, furnished with all the comforts and conveniences necessary to an elegant and fastidious man of the world.

Even if they were no more than mendicants and anchorites, he would join them gladly, for surely they would accept him simply for what he was.

Henceforth Ireland was to be governed jointly by Cuan of the line of Lochlan, chief poet of Meath, and Corcran Cleireach, a renowned holy man and anchorite under the supervision of the Abbot of Lismore.