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friar

A friar belongs to a religious order, a group within the Catholic church. A friar is similar to a monk.

Friars are like monks in that they are devoted to a religious life. The difference is that a friar lives and works among regular people in society, while a monk lives in a secluded, self-sufficient group of monks. The word friar developed in the thirteenth century from the Old French frere, "brother or friar." The Latin root is frater, or "brother."

Definitions of friar
  1. noun
    a male member of a religious order that originally relied solely on alms
    synonyms: mendicant
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    examples:
    Girolamo Savonarola
    Italian religious and political reformer; a Dominican friar in Florence who preached against sin and corruption and gained a large following; he expelled the Medici from Florence but was later excommunicated and executed for criticizing the Pope (1452-1498)
    types:
    show 5 types...
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    Carmelite, White Friar
    a Roman Catholic friar wearing the white cloak of the Carmelite order; mendicant preachers
    Black Friar, Blackfriar, Dominican, friar preacher
    a Roman Catholic friar wearing the black mantle of the Dominican order
    Franciscan, Grey Friar
    a Roman Catholic friar wearing the grey habit of the Franciscan order
    Augustinian
    a Roman Catholic friar or monk belonging to one of the Augustinian monastic orders
    Austin Friar
    one of the Roman Catholic hermits of Saint Augustine
    type of:
    religious
    a member of a religious order who is bound by vows of poverty and chastity and obedience
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