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 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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Commonly, people pursue alternative treatments simultaneously, visiting a fakir for an amulet, an imam for blessed oil, and a physician for medicine.’
- ‘The dargah was popular among travelling fakirs (religious mendicants).’
- ‘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.’
Early 17th century: via French from Arabic faqīr ‘needy man’.
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