Definition of stylite in US English:

stylite

noun

historical
  • An ascetic living on top of a pillar, especially in ancient or medieval Syria, Turkey, and Greece in the 5th century AD.

    • ‘But within ten months he was permitted to set out for the Holy Land, with the blessing of a nearby stylite.’
    • ‘Known as a stylite, or one who lives on a pillar, he virtually impaled himself physically for a lifetime but thereby gained spiritual eternity.’
    • ‘Simeon, like many of the stylites, was completely orthodox in his theology.’
    • ‘Watching him, I can't help but think of the stylites, fanatical Christian monks of the Middle Ages who would plant themselves atop columns in the desert and stay there for weeks and months.’
    • ‘It represents St. Simeon the stylite atop his pillar with details of his bare ribs and naked body showing.’
    abstainer, recluse, hermit, solitary, anchorite, anchoress, desert saint, celibate, puritan, nun, monk
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 17th century: from ecclesiastical Greek stulitēs, from stulos ‘pillar’.

Pronunciation

stylite

/ˈstaɪlaɪt//ˈstīlīt/