A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of like-minded people, whilst always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose.
The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy. Although the term “monk” is of Christian origin, in the English language it tends to be used analogously or loosely also for ascetics from other religious or philosophical backgrounds.
The term monk is generic and in some religious or philosophical traditions it therefore may be considered interchangeable with other terms such as ascetic. However, being generic, it is not interchangeable with terms that denote particular kinds of monk, such as cenobite, hermit, anchorite, hesychast, solitary.