mid-15c., "hermit, recluse, one who withdraws from the world for religious reasons," especially in reference to the Christian hermits of the Eastern deserts in the two centuries after c. 300 C.E., from Medieval Latin anchorita, Late Latin anchoreta, from Greek anakhorētēs, literally "one who has retired," agent noun from anakhorein "to retreat, go back, retire (from battle, the world, etc.)," from ana "back" (see ana-) + khorein "withdraw, give place," from khoros "place, space, free space, room" (from PIE root *ghē- "to release, let go; be released"). It replaced Old English ancer, from Late Latin anchoreta. Related: Anchoritic.
updated on September 21, 2022
Dictionary entries near anchorite