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I find that the compounds mean "mountain people" or "hermit". Do these words have some difference in meaning or do they actually mean exactly the same?

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I don't typically consider these the same words, despite similar origins.

山人 {やまびと} to me specifically refers to people living in the mountains, as hermits or in small villages.

仙人 {せんにん} implies hermit, but actually might have a meaning closer to sage, enlightened one, or wizard ("wizard" might be derived from Taoism).

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    This is why 亀仙人 (aka Master Roshi) lives on an island in the middle of the sea :) – naruto Dec 14 '17 at 23:09
  • @naruto I didnt the question having Master Roshi in mind. – Pablo Dec 14 '17 at 23:39

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