• synonyms


or cab·ba·la, kab·a·la, kab·ba·la, kab·ba·lah

[kab-uh-luh, kuh-bah-]
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  1. a system of esoteric theosophy and theurgy developed by rabbis, reaching its peak about the 12th and 13th centuries, and influencing certain medieval and Renaissance Christian thinkers. It was based on a mystical method of interpreting Scripture by which initiates claimed to penetrate sacred mysteries. Among its central doctrines are, all creation is an emanation from the Deity and the soul exists from eternity.
  2. any occult or secret doctrine or science.

Origin of cabala

1515–25; < Medieval Latin cab(b)ala < Hebrew qabbālāh ‘tradition’, literally, something received, i.e., handed down
Can be confusedcabal cabala
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for kabbalah


kabbala, kabala, cabbala, cabala or qabalah

  1. an ancient Jewish mystical tradition based on an esoteric interpretation of the Old Testament
  2. any secret or occult doctrine or science
Derived Formskabbalism, kabalism, cabbalism, cabalism or qabalism (ˈkæbəˌlɪzəm), nounkabbalist, kabalist, cabbalist, cabalist or qabalist, nounkabbalistic, kabalistic, cabbalistic, cabalistic or qabalistic, adjective

Word Origin

C16: from Medieval Latin, from Hebrew qabbālāh tradition, what is received, from qābal to receive


  1. a variant spelling of kabbalah
Derived Formscabalism (ˈkæbəˌlɪzəm), nouncabalist, nouncabalistic, adjective
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 kabbalah


see cabbala.



1670s, variant of cabbala. Related: Cabalist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper