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A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decided to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.

St. Anthony the Great of Egypt, considered the Father of Christian Monasticism

A monk (/mʌŋk/, from Greek: μοναχός, monachos, "single, solitary" and Latin monachus) is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decided to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.

In the Greek language the term can apply to women, but in modern English it is mainly in use for men. The word nun is typically used for female monastics.

Although the term monachos is of Christian origin, in the English language "monk" tends to be used loosely also for both male and female ascetics from other religious or philosophical backgrounds. However, being generic, it is not interchangeable with terms that denote particular kinds of monk, such as cenobite, hermit, anchorite, hesychast, or solitary.