Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
In popular usage, it refers to all members of religious orders of men, especially mendicant orders, and solitaries. But in Church history it means those sectarians who in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries separated themselves from the Franciscan Order, which they claimed had compromised on St. Francis' original spirit of poverty. (Etym Italian fraticelli, little friars.)