Definition of monk in English:



  • A member of a religious community of men typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

    • ‘They were originally built for a community of monks from Val des Choux in Burgundy.’
    • ‘On the right side of the pyramid was the monastery, with its abbot and his subordinate monks.’
    • ‘He then requests the ten basic vows of a novice monk and repeats each as it is recited to him.’
    • ‘Both forms of ordination require a quorum of five ordained monks or nuns with a minimum of ten years in the Order.’
    • ‘All the community of Evesham was there, every monk and lay brother eager to greet their donors.’
    • ‘My thoughts turned to the Priory, and the monks who lived in peace and poverty there.’
    • ‘One by one the monks glided from the church, each stopping to kiss the most sacred icons as they went.’
    • ‘He declared that it was his last mathematics book, and entered the Benedictine Order as a monk.’
    • ‘He spent two years as a monk in Germany and then became secretary to a French bishop.’
    • ‘He wanted to be a monk, not a busy town parson continually beset by unreasonable people.’
    • ‘He was on his way to visit his brother Raimond, who was a monk in the Dominican monastery there.’
    • ‘He was nudged awake by one member of a line of Buddhist monks who were making their daily alms run.’
    • ‘When a group of Dominican monks founded a house in the rue St Jacques in Paris they became known as Jacobins.’
    • ‘The emperor assumed the authority to make rules for the communities of Buddhist monks.’
    • ‘He was the first Westerner to be ordained as a monk by the Dalai Lama and now teaches at Columbia University.’
    • ‘He has attended several retreats at the abbey, run by the Catholic order of Benedictine monks.’
    • ‘Many of the alms will be donated to monks at the temple, as well as to the novices to use during their stay.’
    • ‘As a teenager, he was set on becoming a Franciscan monk until he took high school acting lessons.’
    • ‘Priests and monks had to follow a strictly regimented set of activities every day.’
    • ‘The temple takes its name from the Knights Templar, an order of warrior monks.’
    brother, male member of a religious order, religious, contemplative
    View synonyms


Old English munuc, based on Greek monakhos ‘solitary’, from monos ‘alone’.