Definition of monk in English:



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

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


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