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[uh-kuhlt, ok-uhlt] /əˈkʌlt, ˈɒk ʌlt/
of or relating to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies.
beyond the range of ordinary knowledge or understanding; mysterious.
secret; disclosed or communicated only to the initiated.
hidden from view.
  1. not apparent on mere inspection but discoverable by experimentation.
  2. of a nature not understood, as physical qualities.
  3. dealing with such qualities; experimental:
    occult science.
Medicine/Medical. present in amounts too small to be visible:
a chemical test to detect occult blood in the stool.
the supernatural or supernatural agencies and affairs considered as a whole (usually preceded by the).
occult studies or sciences (usually preceded by the).
verb (used with object)
to block or shut off (an object) from view; hide.
Astronomy. to hide (a celestial body) by occultation.
verb (used without object)
to become hidden or shut off from view.
Origin of occult
1520-30; < Latin occultus (past participle of occulere to hide from view, cover up), equivalent to oc- oc- + -cul-, akin to cēlāre to conceal + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
occulter, noun
occultly, adverb
occultness, noun
nonoccult, adjective
nonocculting, adjective
2. metaphysical, supernatural. 3. concealed, unrevealed; veiled, shrouded; mystical, cabalistic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for occult
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The intimacy of occult things isolates also these wise little birds.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • I do not mean to say that they did this with any occult or metaphysical motives.

  • He had neither patience for presentiments nor faith in anything that bordered on the occult.

    Rim o' the World B. M. Bower
  • "Oh, it's some of that occult rot, I don't doubt," groaned Roger.

    The Forbidden Trail Honor Willsie
  • Men feel that he is in some occult way different from them, yet they do not know just how.

  • How those in ignorance of occult laws have been led from the moral path.

    The Human Aura Swami Panchadasi
  • Some occult power seemed to force the words from my throat against my will.

    Clarimonde Thophile Gautier
British Dictionary definitions for occult


adjective (ɒˈkʌlt; ˈɒkʌlt)
  1. of or characteristic of magical, mystical, or supernatural arts, phenomena, or influences
  2. (as noun): the occult
beyond ordinary human understanding
secret or esoteric
verb (ɒˈkʌlt)
(astronomy) (of a celestial body) to hide (another celestial body) from view by occultation or (of a celestial body) to become hidden by occultation
to hide or become hidden or shut off from view
(intransitive) (of lights, esp in lighthouses) to shut off at regular intervals
Derived Forms
occultly, adverb
occultness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin occultus, past participle of occulere, from ob- over, up + -culere, related to celāre to conceal
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
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Word Origin and History for occult

1530s, "secret, not divulged," from Middle French occulte and directly from Latin occultus "hidden, concealed, secret," past participle of occulere "cover over, conceal," from ob "over" (see ob-) + a verb related to celare "to hide," from PIE root *kel- "to hide" (see cell). Meaning "not apprehended by the mind, beyond the range of understanding" is from 1540s. The association with the supernatural sciences (magic, alchemy, astrology, etc.) dates from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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occult in Medicine

occult oc·cult (ə-kŭlt', ŏk'ŭlt')

  1. Hidden; concealed.

  2. Detectable only by microscopic examination or chemical analysis.

  3. Not accompanied by readily detectable signs or symptoms.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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