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  • Noun




The increasing homeless problem in the United States has led to more and more mendicants or beggars living their lives on the street. Did you know that the largest homeless shelter that feeds and houses mendicants or street people is located about three blocks from the White House? Mendicants, or those who ask for handouts on a daily basis, often live their entire lives not knowing for sure where their next dollar will come from, although most are well fed by soup kitchens.

Quiz: What is a mendicant?

  • She is someone who mends clothing for a living.
  • He is someone who spends his days wandering the streets.
  • He is a person who begs for money.

Memory Hook

Can't Mend A mendicant can't mend his financial life, and so he has to beg for money.


  • Franciscans, Dominicans and Carmelites, for example, are considered mendicant orders, and the friars — not called monks — depend exclusively on charity. —CNN
  • The destroyer Shiva, as portrayed by the aboriginal Maria tribe of Madhya Pradesh in a ritual mask, takes on the unkempt, disheveled appearance of a wandering mendicant. —TIME
  • Next day on the set, he inspected a possible disguise: the beehive headgear originally worn by jobless, mendicant samurai trying to hide their shame. —TIME
  • To delay its repayments may send the wrong signal to the capital markets, it fears, suggesting that Thailand is a mendicant country unable to carry its debts. —The Economist

Word Ingredients

mend fault, defect
-ant being in a state or condition

A mendicant is in “defective” or “wanting” circumstances.

Word Constellation


Word Variants

mendicant adj begging; living on charity