Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person who withdraws from the world to live in seclusion and often in solitude.
  • adj. Withdrawn from the world; reclusive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Sequestered; secluded, isolated.
  • adj. Hidden, secret.
  • n. A person who lives in self-imposed isolation or seclusion from the world, especially for religious purposes; a hermit.
  • n. The place where a recluse dwells; a place of isolation or seclusion.
  • n. A brown recluse spider.
  • v. To shut; to seclude.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Shut up, sequestered; retired from the world or from public notice; solitary; living apart
  • n. A person who lives in seclusion from intercourse with the world, as a hermit or monk; specifically, one of a class of secluded devotees who live in single cells, usually attached to monasteries.
  • n. The place where a recluse dwells.
  • transitive v. To shut up; to seclude.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Shut up or apart from the world; retired from public notice; sequestered; solitary; existing or passed in a solitary state: as, a recluse monk or hermit; a recluse life.
  • n. A person who withdraws from the world to spend his days in seclusion and meditation; specifically, a member of a religious community who is voluntarily immured for life in a single cell.
  • n. A place of seclusion; a retired or quiet situation; a hermitage, convent, or the like.
  • To shut up; seclude; withdraw from intercourse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. withdrawn from society; seeking solitude
  • n. one who lives in solitude

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French reclus, from Latin reclūsus, past participle of reclūdere, to shut up : re-, re- + claudere, to close.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French reclus, past participle of reclure, from Latin reclūdere, present active infinitive of reclūdō ("enclose"), from re- + claudō ("close"). (Wiktionary)

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