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See also: Monk



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From Middle English monk, from Old English munuc, from Medieval Latin, Late Latin monāchus, from Ancient Greek μοναχός (monakhós, single, solitary), from μόνος (mónos, alone)



monk (plural monks)

  1. A male member of a monastic order who has devoted his life for religious service.
    • 1802, Joseph Ritson, “Poets of the Fifteenth Century”, in Bibliographia Poetica[1]:
      This is believed to be the completeſt liſt of this voluminous, proſaick, and driveling monk, that can be formed, without acceſs, at leaſt, to every manuſcript library in the kingdom, which would be very difficult, if not imposſible, to obtain.
  2. in earlier usage, an eremite or hermit devoted to solitude, as opposed to a cenobite, who lived communally.
    • 1907, Harold Bindloss, chapter 20, in The Dust of Conflict[2]:
      Tony's face expressed relief, and Nettie sat silent for a moment until the vicar said “It was a generous impulse, but it may have been a momentary one, while in the case of monk and crusader there must have been a sustaining purpose, and possibly a great abnegation, a leaving of lands and possessions.”
  3. (slang) A male who leads an isolated life; a loner, a hermit.
  4. (slang) An unmarried man who does not have sexual relationships.
  5. (slang) A judge.
  6. (printing) A blotch or spot of ink on a printed page, caused by the ink not being properly distributed; distinguished from a friar, or white spot caused by a deficiency of ink.
  7. A piece of tinder made of agaric, used in firing the powder hose or train of a mine.
  8. A South American monkey (Pithecia monachus); also applied to other species, as Cebus xanthosternos.
  9. The bullfinch, common bullfinch, European bullfinch, or Eurasian bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula).
  10. The monkfish.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.


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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See alsoEdit

Middle EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Old English munuc.


monk (plural monks)

  1. monk
    • 1407, The Testimony of William Thorpe, pages 40–41
      And I seide, “Ser, in his tyme maister Ioon Wiclef was holden of ful many men the grettis clerk that thei knewen lyuynge vpon erthe. And therwith he was named, as I gesse worthili, a passing reuli man and an innocent in al his lyuynge. And herfore grete men of kunnynge and other also drowen myche to him, and comownede ofte with him. And thei sauouriden so his loore that thei wroten it bisili and enforsiden hem to rulen hem theraftir… Maister Ion Aston taughte and wroot acordingli and ful bisili, where and whanne and to whom he myghte, and he vsid it himsilf, I gesse, right perfyghtli vnto his lyues eende. Also Filip of Repintoun whilis he was a chanoun of Leycetre, Nycol Herforde, dane Geffrey of Pikeringe, monke of Biland and a maistir dyuynyte, and Ioon Purueye, and manye other whiche weren holden rightwise men and prudent, taughten and wroten bisili this forseide lore of Wiclef, and conformeden hem therto. And with alle these men I was ofte homli and I comownede with hem long tyme and fele, and so bifore alle othir men I chees wilfulli to be enformed bi hem and of hem, and speciali of Wiclef himsilf, as of the moost vertuous and goodlich wise man that I herde of owhere either knew. And herfore of Wicleef speciali and of these men I toke the lore whiche I haue taughte and purpose to lyue aftir, if God wole, to my lyues ende.”


Saterland FrisianEdit


From Old Frisian mong, mang, from Proto-Germanic *mangą (crowd). Compare English among.



  1. among