from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A member of a usually mendicant Roman Catholic order.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In the Roman Catholic Church, a member of one of the mendicant monastic orders.
  • noun In printing, a gray or indistinct spot or patch in print, usually made by imperfect inking: distinguished from monk.
  • noun An Irish name of the angler, Lophius piscatorius.
  • noun A fish of the family Atherinidæ.
  • noun The friar-bird or leatherhead. See friarbird.
  • noun A small flake of light-colored sediment floating in wine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (R. C. Ch.) A brother or member of any religious order, but especially of one of the four mendicant orders, viz: (a) Minors, Gray Friars, or Franciscans. (b) Augustines. (c) Dominicans or Black Friars. (d) White Friars or Carmelites. See these names in the Vocabulary.
  • noun (Print.) A white or pale patch on a printed page.
  • noun (Zoöl.) An American fish; the silversides.
  • noun (Zoöl.) an Australian bird (Tropidorhynchus corniculatus), having the head destitute of feathers; -- called also coldong, leatherhead, pimlico; poor soldier, and four-o'clock.
  • noun (Med.) a stimulating application for wounds and ulcers, being an alcoholic solution of benzoin, styrax, tolu balsam, and aloes; compound tincture of benzoin.
  • noun (Bot.) the monkshood.
  • noun (Bot.) an arumlike plant (Arisarum vulgare) with a spathe or involucral leaf resembling a cowl.
  • noun the ignis fatuus or Will-o'-the-wisp.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the European white or sharpnosed skate (Raia alba); -- called also Burton skate, border ray, scad, and doctor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A member of certain Christian orders such as the Augustinians, Carmelites (white friars), Franciscans (grey friars) or the Dominicans (black friars).

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

  • noun a male member of a religious order that originally relied solely on alms


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

[Middle English frere, from Old French, from Latin frāter, brother; see bhrāter- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English, from Old French frere, from Latin frater ("brother"), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European.



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  • The term Friar Tuck, with its fairly obvious rhyming slang connotation, found its way into the UK House of Commons during Questions to the Prime Minister (Cameron) last Wednesday (March 27, 2012). Cameron, a Conservative, was accused by Ed Milliband, Labour leader, of "not caring a Friar Tuck" for the less well off; Milliband also derided the idea of a Robin Hood budget that would take from the rich to give to the poor. Normally language of this sort would be ruled in poor taste by the Speaker, but on this occasion, when the gloves were off in the post-Budget period and Millibrand was persuing a clear Robin Hood analogy, the Speaker let the remark pass.

    April 1, 2012