One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A Muslim (or, loosely, a Hindu) religious ascetic who lives solely on alms.
abstainer, recluse, hermit, solitary, anchorite, anchoress, desert saint, celibate, puritan, nun, monkView synonyms
- ‘The dargah was popular among travelling fakirs (religious mendicants).’
- ‘Giving details, the Chairman has asserted that Guru Granth Sahib revered by the Sikhs as a living God, contained verses of 15 Hindu saints and Muslim fakirs.’
- ‘The Hindu fakir would sit for days without food or water, or bury himself alive as a kind of spiritual observance, a separation of mind from body.’
- ‘One story tells how Aurangzeb became rich by summoning fakirs (Muslim holy men thought to have magical powers) to his palace and forcing them to accept fine khilats.’
- ‘Commonly, people pursue alternative treatments simultaneously, visiting a fakir for an amulet, an imam for blessed oil, and a physician for medicine.’
Early 17th century: via French from Arabic faqīr ‘needy man’.
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