Definition of dervish in English:

dervish

noun

  • A member of a Muslim (specifically Sufi) religious order who has taken vows of poverty and austerity. Dervishes first appeared in the 12th century; they were noted for their wild or ecstatic rituals and were known as dancing, whirling, or howling dervishes according to the practice of their order.

    • ‘In medieval Islam, many dervishes became members of mystical or Sufi brotherhoods, which grew up all over the Islamic world from the 12th century onwards.’
    • ‘You must see these Sufi dervishes go whirl round and round in great devotion.’
    • ‘While Pakistan beckoned us with its antique wooden chests, Turkey had me mesmerised with its flying dervishes.’
    • ‘His bold, expressive pictures are unmatched in the Islamic world, showing scenes of nomadic life; dancing and music-making demons, and Sufi dervishes.’
    • ‘Mystic orders and dervishes played an important role in their lives and dervish lodges provided food and shelter along the trade routes.’
    abstainer, recluse, hermit, solitary, anchorite, anchoress, desert saint, celibate, puritan, nun, monk
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Origin

From Turkish derviş, from Persian darvīš ‘poor’, (as a noun) ‘religious mendicant’.

Pronunciation

dervish

/ˈdəːvɪʃ/