- a person who has withdrawn to a solitary place for a life of religious seclusion.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.
- one of the early Christian recluses
- any person living in solitude
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.