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A homebody is, simply put, a person who likes staying at home more than going out.

The Oxford Dictionary tags the word as "informal North American", while the Cambridge Dictionary tags it as "mainly US".

Since neither Oxford nor Cambridge has an entry for the word in their respective thesauri, I have not been able to find a potentially-British synonym for it.

So, what word is used in the UK to refer to such a person?

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    I don't think there is a specific word in British English for that. I would say introvert or recluse. Nov 5 '20 at 11:18
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    Google ngram has a fair number of British hits on homebody. It doesn’t strike me as only American.
    – Xanne
    Nov 5 '20 at 12:03
  • You need a better/American thesaurus, Merriam-Webster has several synonyms, the best already given by Decapitated Soul (being an American word, it's more likely to be in an American thesaurus): merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/homebody
    – Stuart F
    Nov 5 '20 at 13:44
  • @StuartF, why would I need an American thesaurus to find a word used in British English? Nov 5 '20 at 18:58
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    @DecapitatedSoul, none of the definitions of the word say that a homebody is shy and/or dislikes contact with other people. For that reason, I really do not think that introvert and recluse are synonymous with it. Nov 5 '20 at 19:09
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For what it's worth, the Longman and Collins dictionaries, both British publications, do not mark it as Americanism (although Macmillan does). The OED marks it as "originally U.S." but finds examples of it in The News Chronicle (London) from 1959 and even in P.G. Wodehouse:

He said this girl was one of those domestic girls, a little home-body, and might be leaving the party any moment now. — Bill the Conqueror, 1924.

For what it's worth, Roget's Thesaurus does not have an entry for homebody, and the synonyms suggested in the Merriam-Webster thesaurus are all much stronger and mostly negative compared to homebody. Someone who prefers to stay and entertain at home rather than going out to bars or events is hardly withdrawing from human society or avoiding human contact in favor of a life of solitude, as implied in terms like recluse, loner, hermit, shut-in, or anchorite. They might well be insulted by the characterization.

Just say homebody if you mean homebody.

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  • Macmillan does tag it as "American". I have also found the adjective and noun "stay-at-home", and the adjective "home-loving". However, while dictionaries more or less just define "home-loving" as "fond of staying at home", Cambridge states that a stay-at-home (person) "is considered boring", Collins states that they enjoy "a quiet, settled, and unadventurous use of leisure", and Macmillan states that they choose to not "do interesting things". So, aside from "homebody", I suppose I would have to go with "home-loving person". Nov 5 '20 at 22:59
  • Thanks, post corrected. I'm not sure how stay-at-home is used in the UK, but in the US, it most commonly refers to someone who does not work outside the home; a stay-at-home mom is a homemaker in other parlance, or housewife in more dated terminology. It makes no implications about one's adventurousness or likeability.
    – choster
    Nov 5 '20 at 23:20

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