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[hur-mit] /ˈhɜr mɪt/
a person who has withdrawn to a solitary place for a life of religious seclusion.
any person living in seclusion; recluse.
Zoology. an animal of solitary habits.
Ornithology. any of numerous hummingbirds of the genera Glaucis and Phaethornis, having curved bills and dull-colored rather than iridescent plumage.
a spiced molasses cookie often containing raisins or nuts.
Obsolete. a beadsman.
Origin of hermit
1175-1225; Middle English ermite, hermite, heremite < Old French < Late Latin erēmīta < Greek erēmītḗs living in a desert, equivalent to erḗm(ia) desert (derivative of erêmos desolate) + -ītēs -ite1
Related forms
hermitic, hermitical, hermitish, adjective
hermitically, adverb
hermitlike, adjective
hermitry, hermitship, noun
unhermitic, adjective
unhermitical, adjective
unhermitically, adverb
1. eremite, monastic, anchorite, cenobite. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hermit
  • The subject of her essay has chosen to live as a hermit, separated from the world for spiritual purposes.
  • He signed his literary works into the public domain and left his family to live out his final days as a hermit.
  • Unlike hermit crabs that live inside their body armor, the veined octopus only uses its armor when it senses danger.
  • It was an attempt to live by himself and to himself, in fact, to turn modern hermit.
  • The new aquarium will also contain a touch-tide pool, where children can pick up hermit crabs and starfish.
  • Probably the reason why hermit monks tend to be happier than the rest of us.
  • Some anemones piggyback on the shells of hermit crabs.
  • hermit crabs are always on the lookout for new accommodations.
  • Over the years we've pulled this book out for reference when making homes for ants, crickets, tadpoles and hermit crabs.
  • Only the hermit crab has been cheap: food, water and an occasional cage cleaning.
British Dictionary definitions for hermit


one of the early Christian recluses
any person living in solitude
Derived Forms
hermitic, hermitical, adjective
hermitically, adverb
hermit-like, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French hermite, from Late Latin erēmīta, from Greek erēmitēs living in the desert, from erēmia desert, from erēmos lonely
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hermit

early 12c., "religious recluse," from Old French (h)eremite, from Late Latin ermita, from Greek eremites, literally "person of the desert," from eremia "desert, solitude," from eremos "uninhabited, empty, desolate, bereft," from PIE *ere- (2) "to separate" (cf. Latin rete "net," Lithuanian retis "sieve"). Transferred sense of "person living in solitude" is from 1799. The hermit crab (1735) was so called for its solitary habits.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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