A mendicant is someone who lives in poverty, usually surviving by begging. Example: "There were many homeless people and mendicants on the streets during the depression."

Mendicant is also an adjective that describes someone begging or living on alms, or anything else characteristic of a beggar.

It also describes someone of a Roman Catholic order who takes a vow of poverty and supports himself by working in the church and through charitable contributions.

The word is from the Latin mendicant, which comes from mendicare (to beg). This is a variation on mendicus (beggarly, needy), which comes ultimately from mendum (physical defect). This same root also brings us the words amend (change for the better) and mend (to repair).

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