1400-50;late Middle Englishanc(h)orite, conflation of Middle Englishancre (Old Englishancra, ancer) and Old Frenchanacorite or Medieval Latinanachōrīta < Late Greekanachōrētḗs, equivalent to Greekanachōrē-, stem of anachōreîn to withdraw (ana-ana- + chōreîn to give way, verbal derivative of chôros space) + -tēs agent suffix; Old English forms < Old Irish*ancharae < Late Latinanachōrēta < Late Greek
mid-15c., "hermit (especially those of the Eastern deserts), recluse, one who withdraws from the world for religious reasons," from M.L. anchorita, from Gk. anakhoretes, lit. "one who has retired," agent noun from anakhorein "to retreat, go back, retire," from ana- "back" + khorein "withdraw, give place," from khoros "place, space, free space, room."