Definitions

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

  • n. One of a number of early Christian ascetics who lived unsheltered on the tops of high pillars.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A Christian ascetic in ancient times who lived alone on top of a tall pillar.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of a sect of anchorites in the early church, who lived on the tops of pillars for the exercise of their patience; -- called also pillarist and pillar saint.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In ecclesiastical history, one of a class of solitary ascetics who passed the greater part of their lives unsheltered on the top of high columns or pillars.

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

  • n. an early Christian ascetic who lived on top of high pillars

Etymologies

Late Greek stūlītēs, from Greek stūlos, pillar; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ecclesiastical Greek στυλίτης (stulites), from Ancient Greek στῦλος (stulos, "pillar"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • There was a time a "stylite" was a saint who lived atop a pillar or a post in some forsaken desert.

    Knocking From Inside

  • He's said to be as rich as Croesus and as reclusive as a stylite, and that's all anyone knows of him.

    red dust

  • To choose a stone perch in center of the sea where you will stay, a stylite, unaffected

    To Be Undone

  • I'm not yet some fanatic stylite, sitting on a pillar, waiting for the snap of the seventh seal, so I am somewhat familiar with the world around me.

    Paying the piper...or not.

  • My desire to go and hear Berma received a fresh stimulus which enabled me to await the coming of the matinée with impatience and with joy; having gone to take up, in front of the column on which the playbills were, my daily station, as excruciating, of late, as that of a stylite saint, I had seen there, still moist and wrinkled, the complete bill of

    Within a Budding Grove

  • It, indeed, sent the stylite to his pillar, the hermit to the wilderness, the ascetic to the scourge and hair-cloth shirt; but it also led the warrior to the Holy Land, the beggar to the castle-hearth, and the workman to the building of the

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 05, No. 27, January, 1860

  • At the end of the rite, however, the patriarch ascended to give Holy Communion to the stylite and to receive it from him.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 6: Fathers of the Church-Gregory XI

  • Old Cotta, who was inspecting the canals and the navigation of the Nile, had many times expressed a desire to see the stylite and the new city, to which the name of Stylopolis had been given.

    Thais

  • Soon the report of this extraordinary existence spread from village to village, and the labourers of the valley came on Sundays, with their wives and children, to look at the stylite.

    Thais

  • He highly approved of the extraordinary conduct of the stylite, and the heads of the Libyan Church followed, in the absence of Athanasius, the opinion of the Patriarch.

    Thais

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  • "...yet he had always despised the stylite or even hair-shirt kind of asceticism..."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Hundred Days, 55

    March 20, 2008