Definitions

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

  • n. A community of persons, especially monks, bound by vows to a religious life and often living in partial or complete seclusion.
  • n. The dwelling place of such a community.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Place of residence for members of a religious community (especially monks).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A house of religious retirement, or of secusion from ordinary temporal concerns, especially for monks; -- more rarely applied to such a house for females.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A house or other place of residence occupied in common by persons seeking religious seclusion from the world: commonly applied to such a house exclusively used by monks.

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

  • n. the residence of a religious community

Etymologies

Middle English monasterie, from Old French monastere, from Late Latin monastērium, from Late Greek monastērion, from Greek monazein, to live alone, from monos, alone; see men-4 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin monastērium, from Ancient Greek μοναστήριον (monasterion, "hermit's cell"), from μόνος (monos, "alone"). (Wiktionary)

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