- Often arcana. a secret; mystery.
- a supposed great secret of nature that the alchemists sought to discover.
- a secret and powerful remedy.
Origin of arcanum
1590–1600; < Latin, neuter (used as noun) of arcānus arcane
[ahr-kah-noo m ahr-kah-noh-roo m; English ahr-key-nuh m ahr-kuh-nawr-uh m, -nohr-]
- secret of secrets.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for arcanum
Sir, it is an arcanum, which I have discovered, and prepared with infinite labour.The Expedition of Humphry Clinker
But they too were to be cured, people need only buy his arcanum.The Burgomaster's Wife, Complete
The foreigner has no mystic fabric in his government, and no arcanum imperii.A Lecture on the Study of History
It is accounted a noble Remedy, known to few, and held as a great Arcanum.A New Voyage to Carolina
Medicines did not avail, and I had not yet found the arcanum which afterwards so greatly benefitted my suffering soul.
- (sometimes plural) a profound secret or mystery known only to initiates
- a secret of nature sought by alchemists
C16: from Latin; see arcane
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for arcanum
proper singular form of arcana.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper