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hierophant

[hahy-er-uh-fant, hahy-ruh-, hahy-er-uh-]
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noun
  1. (in ancient Greece) an official expounder of rites of worship and sacrifice.
  2. any interpreter of sacred mysteries or esoteric principles; mystagogue.
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Origin of hierophant

1670–80; < Late Latin hierophanta < Greek hierophántēs, equivalent to hiero- hiero- + -phántēs, derivative of phaínein to show, make known
Related formshi·er·o·phan·tic, adjectivehi·er·o·phan·ti·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hierophantic

Historical Examples

  • Peace of the druid priests of Cymbeline: hierophantic: from wide earth an altar.

    Ulysses

    James Joyce

  • Abundant information is also supplied on this subject by that hierophantic naturalist, Aldrovandus, de Quadrup.

  • Few of my readers would understand these hierophantic words, were I to leave them unexplained.

    What is Property?

    P. J. Proudhon


British Dictionary definitions for hierophantic

hierophant

noun
  1. (in ancient Greece) an official high priest of religious mysteries, esp those of Eleusis
  2. a person who interprets and explains esoteric mysteries
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Derived Formshierophantic, adjectivehierophantically, adverb

Word Origin

C17: from Late Latin hierophanta, from Greek hierophantēs, from hiero- + phainein to reveal
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 hierophantic

adj.

1775, from Greek herophantikos, from hierophantes (see hierophant).

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hierophant

n.

"expounder of sacred mysteries," 1670s, from Late Latin hierophantes, from Greek hierophantes "one who teaches the rites of sacrifice and worship," literally "one who shows sacred things," from hieros "sacred" (see ire) + phainein "to reveal, bring to light" (see phantasm). In modern use, "expounder of esoteric doctrines," from 1822.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper