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Catholic Dictionary




In medieval language a woman hermit. Also called ancress, it is commonly applied to women who have renounced the world to spend their lives in penance, prayer, and solitude. (Etym. Latin fem. of anchorita, variant of anchoreta; from Greek anakh_r_t_s, "one who withdraws [from the world]," from anakh_rein, to withdraw: ana-, back, + rh_rein, to make room.)