A recluse lives alone, works alone, eats alone, and generally stays away from other people. Anti-social old hermits are recluses, as are a lot of students during exam time.

In the early 13th century, a recluse was a person who shut out the world to go meditate on religious issues. But nowadays recluses can think about whatever they want while they're sitting in solitude — they're simply people who shy away from social interaction and live secluded lives. Or think of the Brown Recluse spider, who likes to hide out in dark old boots or undisturbed corners of the basement.

Definitions of recluse

n one who lives in solitude

hermit, solitary, solitudinarian, troglodyte
St. John the Baptist
(New Testament) a preacher and hermit and forerunner of Jesus (whom he baptized); was beheaded by Herod at the request of Salome
Type of:
lone hand, lone wolf, loner
a person who avoids the company or assistance of others

adj withdrawn from society; seeking solitude

reclusive, withdrawn
not seeking or given to association; being or living without companions

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.