Ask Difference

Recluse vs. Hermit — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Maham Liaqat — Updated on February 22, 2024
A recluse is someone who chooses to live in solitude, often avoiding social interactions, while a hermit lives in seclusion for religious or philosophical reasons, typically in remote areas.
Recluse vs. Hermit — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Recluse and Hermit


Key Differences

Recluses often withdraw from society to avoid social interactions, valuing privacy and solitude above all. They might live in urban or rural settings, keeping to themselves due to personal preferences or social discomfort. Hermitage, on the other hand, is usually a deliberate choice for spiritual or philosophical growth, often involving living in remote or wilderness areas to seek peace and introspection away from societal distractions.
Recluses may interact with society for necessities, while their engagement is minimal and often reluctant. Hermits might also have occasional interactions, especially if they offer spiritual guidance or wisdom, but these are usually limited and purposeful. In contrast, a hermit's motivation is often spiritual or philosophical, seeking enlightenment or a deeper understanding of life's mysteries through isolation.
Recluses can be from any walk of life and choose solitude for a variety of reasons, including past traumas, introversion, or a desire for a simple, unencumbered lifestyle. Hermits, however, often follow a tradition or calling, with their lifestyle deeply rooted in religious or philosophical practices, sometimes even taking vows or adhering to specific spiritual disciplines.
The lifestyle of a recluse can be seen as a response to modern societal pressures and complexities, offering a way to regain control and find peace. Hermits, while also seeking peace, view solitude as a means to transcend the material world and connect with the divine or with nature on a profound level.
The perception of recluses and hermits varies culturally and historically, with hermits often revered for their spiritual dedication and insights, while recluses might be misunderstood or viewed with suspicion due to their avoidance of social norms and interactions.

Comparison Chart


A person who lives in solitude, avoiding others.
A person living in solitude for religious reasons.


Personal comfort, avoidance of social interaction.
Spiritual growth, enlightenment.


Can be urban or rural, minimal social contact.
Often in wilderness, with disciplined practices.


Minimal, often reluctant.
Limited, purposeful, sometimes spiritual guidance.


Varied, sometimes misunderstood.
Often revered for spiritual commitment.

Compare with Definitions


Someone who prefers living away from society for peace.
The famous writer was a recluse, rarely seen at public events.


A person living in solitude for religious or philosophical reasons.
The hermit in the mountains was sought for his wisdom.


A person who lives a solitary life, avoiding social activities.
After years in the city, he became a recluse, finding solace in the quiet of the countryside.


Someone who withdraws from society to live a spiritual life.
She became a hermit, dedicating her life to meditation and prayer.


An individual who seeks solitude for personal comfort.
She turned into a recluse, cherishing her solitude above all else.


A person who chooses a life of solitude for self-discovery.
He left his corporate job to live as a hermit and find his true self.


An individual who lives alone and avoids company.
After the accident, he became a recluse, seldom leaving his home.


Someone living remotely for a deeper connection with the divine.
The hermit spent years in the desert, in prayer and fasting.


A person who chooses isolation to avoid social interactions.
The artist lived as a recluse, dedicating himself entirely to his craft.


An individual who seeks enlightenment through isolation.
The ancient hermit lived alone, in deep contemplation of nature's mysteries.


Favouring a solitary life.


A hermit, or eremite (adjectival form: hermitic or eremitic), is a person who lives in seclusion. Hermits are a part of several sections of various religions and this concept has garnered significant attention and importance.


(obsolete) the place where a recluse dwells; a place of isolation or seclusion.


One who lives in solitude.


A recluse is a person who lives in voluntary seclusion from the public and society. The word is from the Latin recludere, which means "shut up" or "sequester".


A person living in solitude as a religious discipline.


A person who withdraws from the world to live in seclusion and often in solitude.


A person who has withdrawn from society and lives a solitary existence; a recluse.

Common Curiosities

Is being a recluse a lifestyle choice or a psychological condition?

It can be either, depending on the individual's reasons for solitude.

What drives a person to become a recluse?

Personal comfort, social discomfort, or a desire for solitude.

Do hermits ever interact with others?

Yes, but such interactions are usually limited and purposeful.

What is the main difference between a recluse and a hermit?

The main difference lies in their motivation: personal comfort vs. spiritual enlightenment.

Are all hermits religious?

While many are, some may seek solitude for philosophical reasons.

How do societies view hermits?

They are often respected for their spiritual dedication, though views can vary.

Is the choice to be a recluse reversible?

Yes, people can choose to re-engage with society after a period of solitude.

How do recluses handle their basic needs?

They might venture out minimally or use delivery services to minimize contact.

Can anyone choose to be a hermit?

Yes, but it often involves a deep commitment to spiritual or philosophical practices.

Do hermits take vows?

Some do, especially if they follow a specific religious or spiritual tradition.

Are recluses antisocial?

Not necessarily; they may simply prefer solitude over social interaction.

Can a recluse live in a city?

Yes, recluses can live anywhere, as long as they maintain solitude.

Do recluses have friends or family?

They might, but they generally keep interactions to a minimum.

Can living as a hermit lead to enlightenment?

Many hermits believe solitude is a path to spiritual insight and enlightenment.

Can hermits be part of a community?

Yes, some hermit traditions involve living in proximity to like-minded individuals.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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