• WordNet 3.6
    • n dervish an ascetic Muslim monk; a member of an order noted for devotional exercises involving bodily movements
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Dervish A Turkish or Persian monk, especially one who professes extreme poverty and leads an austere life.
    • Dervish figuratively, a person who whirls or engages in frenzied activity reminiscent of the dervish{3} dancing.
    • Dervish in modern times, a member of an ascetic Mohammedan sect notable for its devotional exercises, which include energetic chanting or shouting and rhythmic bodily movement, such as whirling, leading to a trance-like state or ecstasy. From these exercises the phrase whirling dervish is derived.
    • Dervish One of the fanatical followers of the Mahdi, in the Sudan, in the 1880's.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n dervish A Mohammedan monk, professing poverty, humility, and chastity; a Mohammedan fakir. There are thirty-six orders of regular dervishes, who for the most part observe celibacy, and live in convents of not more than forty persons, under the supervision of a sheik or elder. Some, however, are permitted to marry and live with their families, but are required to spend at least two nights of each week in the monastery. The novitiate is severe, and the rules of the orders are strict. They are generally divided into two classes, viz.: spinning or whirling dervishes (Mevlevis) and howling dervishes (Rufais). To the violent circular dances and pirouetting of the spinning dervishes the latter add vociferous shouting and cries to Allah. The most important order of dervishes is that of the Mevlevis, whose monasteries (Turkish tekye) are found at Konieh in Asia Minor, at Constantinople, and elsewhere.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Dervish dėr′vish among Mohammedans, a member of one of the numerous orders of monks who profess poverty and lead an austere life.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Per. derwēsch, fr. OPer. derew, to beg, ask alms: cf. F. derviche,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Pers. darvísh, a dervish—lit., a poor man.


In literature:

Indeed, the Boodie exhibits symptoms of insanity, and dances round him with a vivacity that a dervish might be proud of.
"Portia" by Duchess
He admires the royal eminence of the dervish or religious ascetic.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 81, July, 1864" by Various
It was a great relief, therefore, to see a Dervish sitting on the floor, as if he had all the time in the world.
"Miss Muffet's Christmas Party" by Samuel McChord Crothers
He had not been there long before he perceived three old dervishes coming slowly up the street.
"Tales from the German" by Various
Now the dervish was a holy man, and experienced in prophecies and the signs of the stars.
"Tales of the Caravan, Inn, and Palace." by William Hauff
Except in a few cases in India, none of these orders of faqirs or dervishes adopt the ochre garments of the Sadhus.
"Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan Frontier" by T. L. Pennell
He loves not the dervishes, because they would always be teaching.
"The Lion of Janina" by Mór Jókai
Facts had to be faced at last, like the dervishes at Omdurman, and a plan of campaign decided on in the event of momentary defeat.
"The Heart of a Woman" by Emmuska Orczy, Baroness Orczy
In consequence of the rising of the Dervishes Egypt evacuated Dongola in 1886.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 6" by Various
At Toski the Dervish force was nearly annihilated.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 9, Slice 1" by Various

In poetry:

As into Giaour lands
With Dervish faith and rite,
Hueless, a Saracen,
He flies.
"Swallow" by Padraic Colum
Now once again have we redeemed the past,
Our armies marched to triumph once again,
Now brought to nought that army, once so vast;
Shattered the Dervish host; at last, at last,
Avenged is Gordon slain!
"Omdurman" by Cicely Fox Smith
General Gatacre also delivered a stirring address,
Which gave courage to the troops, I must confess:
He told the troops to drive the Dervishes into the river,
And go right through the zereba, and do not shiver.
"The Battle of Atbara" by William Topaz McGonagall
The Dervishes had re-formed under cover of a rocky eminence,
Which to them, no doubt, was a strong defence,
And they were massed together in battle array
Around the black standard of the Khalifa, which made a grand display.
"The Battle of Omdurman" by William Topaz McGonagall
Still manfully the dusky warriors strove to make headway,
But the Soudanese troops and British swept them back without dismay,
And their main body were mown down by their deadly fire-
But still the heroic Dervishes refused to retire.
"The Battle of Omdurman" by William Topaz McGonagall
And behind them came the Lincolnshire Regiment, on the right,
And the Seaforth Highlanders in the centre, 'twas a most gorgeous sight,
And the Warwickshire Regiment were on the left,
And many of the Dervishes' heads by them were cleft.
"The Battle of Atbara" by William Topaz McGonagall

In news:

The book dervish , on a mission to get kids reading.
American Dervish Tackles Family & Faith.
In many ways, the new novel American Dervish is the quintessential American story.
A Royal Dervish wins Emerald Challenge Jockey Quotes.
American Dervish , by Ayad Akhtar.
Book review of American Dervish .
Dervish To Bring Irish Music "Sessions" To American Airwaves Published August 22, 2008.
Whirling Dervishes are members of the Mevlevi Order of Sufis, founded by the followers of the poet Rumi.
American Dervish may be Ayad Akhtar's first novel, but he's far from new to storytelling.
Whirling Dervishes are members of the Mevlevi Order of Sufis , founded by the followers of the poet Rumi.
I was told to make myself look as much like a man as possible to attend a male-only Sufi dervish ceremony on the outskirts of Sanandaj.
The term "whirling dervish" was created in an attempt to explain my indefatigable life's velocity.
The Mevlevi Order of America presents the Whirling Dervish ceremony 7:30 pm Dec 7-8 at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California.
I spoke with her last week about what led her to the Sufi path, why Whirling Dervishes whirl and whether they get dizzy when they dance.
When did you first learn about Whirling Dervishes.