monk (n.) O.E. munuc "monk" (used also of women), from P.Gmc. *muniko- (Cf. O.Fris. munek, M.Du. monic, O.H.G. munih, Ger. Mönch), an early borrowing from V.L. *monicus (source of Fr. moine, Sp. monje, It. monaco), from L.L. monachus "monk," originally "religious hermit," from Eccles. Gk. monakhos "monk," noun use of a classical Greek adjective meaning "solitary," from monos "alone" (see MONO- (Cf. mono-)). For substitution of -o- for -u-, see COME (Cf. come).
In England, before the Reformation, the term was not applied to the members of the mendicant orders, who were always called friars. From the 16th c. to the 19th c., however, it was usual to speak of the friars as a class of monks. In recent times the distinction between the terms has been carefully observed by well-informed writers. In Fr. and Ger. the equivalent of monk is applied equally to 'monks' and 'friars.' [OED]

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Monk [1] — Monk, 1) Georg M., Herzog von Albemarle, geb. 1608 in Potheridge bei Torrington in Devonshire, aus altadeliger Familie. Da er einen Gerichtsdiener, welcher seinen Vater wegen Schulden verhaften wollte, gemißhandelt hatte, mußte er fliehen u. kam… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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