AskDefine | Define mendicant

Dictionary Definition

mendicant adj : practicing beggary; "mendicant friars"


1 a male member of a religious order that originally relied soley on alms [syn: friar]
2 a pauper who lives by begging [syn: beggar]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Depending on alms for a living.



  1. A beggar.
  2. A religious friar forbidden to own personal property who begs for a living.



Related terms

Extensive Definition

The term mendicant (Latin mendicans, begging) refers to begging or relying on charitable donations, and is most widely used for religious followers or ascetics who rely exclusively on charity to survive.
In principle, mendicant orders or followers do not own property, either individually or collectively, and have taken a vow of poverty, in order that all their time and energy could be expended on practicing or preaching their religion or way of life and serving the poor.
Many religious orders adhere to a mendicant way of life, including the Catholic mendicant orders, Hindu ascetics, some dervishes of Sufi Islam, and the monastic orders of Buddhism. In the Catholic Church, followers of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic became known as mendicants, as they would beg for food, while they preached to the villages.

See also

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Albigensian, Catharist, Franciscan, Sabbatarian, Trappist, Waldensian, abbacomes, abbot, abstainer, abstinent, anchorite, anchoritic, ascetic, austere, beadsman, beggar, beggared, beggarly, begging, bereaved, bereft, bhikshu, brother, bum, bummer, cadger, cadging, caloyer, celibate, cenobite, conventual, conventual prior, coupon clippers, deprived, dervish, disadvantaged, drone, eremitic, fakir, flagellant, fleeced, freeloader, friar, ghettoized, grand prior, hermit, hieromonach, hobo, idle rich, impoverished, in need, in rags, in want, indigent, lay abbot, lay brother, leisure class, loafer, lounge lizard, lumpen proletariat, mendicant friar, mendicant order, monastic, monk, moocher, mooching, necessitous, needy, nonworker, on relief, out at elbows, palmer, panhandler, parasite, pauperized, petitionary, pilgrim, pillar saint, pillarist, poverty-stricken, prayerful, precative, prior, puritan, puritanical, religieux, religious, rentiers, rigoristic, sannyasi, schnorrer, scrounger, scrounging, self-denying, spiv, sponger, starveling, stripped, stylite, suppliant, supplicant, supplicating, supplicatory, the unemployable, the unemployed, tramp, underprivileged, wedded to poverty, yogi, yogin
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