Imagine two friends who are talking about the reclusion that one of them is dealing with it. The one who is OK, wants to ask the other one what has caused him to live in that way during the couple of weeks / months ago. Does the sentence below work here? If yes, is it natural and if not how shall I indicate such a thing to a native speaker?

  • What’s the reason (behind your / for) your reclusion?

Or perhaps:

  • You've lived in reclusion for several months. What is the reason behind it?

1 Answer 1


You wrote: Imagine two friends ...

Your sentences are grammatical but the tone of reclusion is clinical, not conversational.

Why have you been a recluse for the past few months? What's going on?

You've been living as a recluse for months. What's wrong?

  • In regular conversation, how about seclusion?
    – user3169
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 1:12
  • 1
    Seclusion does not have the clinical tone of reclusion (as there is no such noun as [secluse]) so on that score it is OK, but seclusion is not reclusion and the two words are not perfectly interchangeable. A person with an active social life may return to the seclusion of home, whereas a recluse never ventures out. To live in seclusion is to live hidden away, out of choice or necessity, whereas the recluse may be emotionally incapable of leaving his or her seclusion. Reclusion may not be volitional.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 12:36
  • TRomano do you agree that we can substitute "recluse" with loner in colloquialism and friendly conversations?
    – A-friend
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 14:11
  • 1
    @A-friend, recluse and loner are more-or-less synonyms. Loner is in a slightly informal register; recluse is in standard register. Both can be used in friendly conversations. A recluse tends not to venture out in public, but a loner often does, while keeping his or her distance from others. A loner may sit alone and not join a group.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 16:46
  • 1
    With monastic / religious reclusion, the word reclusion is still in a rather formal register. There it is not clinical but academic in its tone. The word could be used in an academic study of the monastic life, for example. If you wish to avoid sounding like an academic, and were telling the story of Buddha to a lay audience, you would say that he lived as a recluse.
    – TimR
    Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 16:52

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