member of an Anabaptist sect, 1560s, from name of Menno Simons (1492-1559), founder of the sect in Friesland, + -ite (1). As an adjective by 1727. Alternative form Mennonist (n.) attested from 1640s.
A Protestant denomination, founded in the early days of the Reformation, whose members believe in living with great simplicity and who refuse to hold public office or to serve in the military. Some are as strict as the Amish in rejecting modern conveniences, such as automobiles and radios. There are numerous Mennonite communities in Pennsylvania and the Middle West.