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A recluse is someone in isolation who hides away from the attention of the public, a person who lives in solitude, i.e. seclusion from intercourse with the world. The word is from the Latin recludere, which means "shut up" or "sequester".

A person may become a recluse for many reasons: a celebrity may seek to escape the attentions of his or her fans; a misanthrope may be unable to tolerate human society; a survivalist may be practicing self-sufficiency; and a criminal might hide away from people to avoid detection by police. It can also be due to psychological reasons, such as: apathy, an autism spectrum disorder, a phobia, schizoid personality type, or due to avoidant personality disorder. A recluse can also be considered as a loner.

Some may become a recluse due to a physical deformity that makes their outward appearance unsettling to others. A person may also become a recluse for religious reasons, in which case he or she is usually referred to as a hermit or an anchorite (which see).

Reclusiveness does not necessarily connote geographical isolation. A recluse may live in a crowded city, but infrequently leave the security of his or her home.

In Japanmarker, an estimated 1.2 million people are part of the phenomenon of "Hikikomori" or "social withdrawal," which has become a major problem, often blamed on Japan's education system and social pressure to succeed.


Historically the word referred to practice of hermit's full isolation from the world, realised through willful lifelong seclusion in a cell (Simeon von Trier in Porta Nigramarker and others).

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