Definition of stylite in English:


Pronunciation /ˈstīlīt/ /ˈstaɪlaɪt/


  • An ascetic living on top of a pillar, especially in ancient or medieval Syria, Turkey, and Greece in the 5th century AD.

    ‘Watching him, I can't help but think of the stylites, fanatical Christian monks of the Middle Ages who would plant themselves atop columns in the desert and stay there for weeks and months.’
    • ‘It represents St. Simeon the stylite atop his pillar with details of his bare ribs and naked body showing.’
    • ‘But within ten months he was permitted to set out for the Holy Land, with the blessing of a nearby stylite.’
    • ‘Known as a stylite, or one who lives on a pillar, he virtually impaled himself physically for a lifetime but thereby gained spiritual eternity.’
    • ‘Simeon, like many of the stylites, was completely orthodox in his theology.’
    abstainer, recluse, hermit, solitary, anchorite, anchoress, desert saint, celibate, puritan, nun, monk


Mid 17th century from ecclesiastical Greek stulitēs, from stulos ‘pillar’.