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Word of the Day
Friday, March 24, 2017

Definitions for esoterica

  1. things understood by or meant for a select few; recondite matters or items.
  2. curiosa.

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Citations for esoterica
At the G20 he was in his element—an instinctively global leader wading through esoterica that most people couldn't grasp, taking charge by dint of his superior knowledge. , "Why Gordon Brown Struggles So Mightily," Newsweek, June 11, 2009
When Dan Brown unleashed The Da Vinci Code in 2003 ... he was simply bringing this obsession with esoterica into the mainstream. Frances Stonor Saunders, "Leonardo da Vinci: the myth and the man," The Guardian, October 21, 2011
Origin of esoterica
1925-1930
Esoterica is a noun derived from the Greek adjective esōterikós “belonging to the initiate, inner, esoteric.” Esōterikós has a distinguished history in ancient Greek philosophical systems (Pythagorean, Aristotelian, Stoic). Esoterica, if not coined by Ogden Nash (1902–71), was popularized by him in a poem of his published in The New Yorker in 1930. The poem contains the line “The postal authorities of the United States of America Frown on Curiosa, Erotica and Esoterica, And I guess / That's a break for the American Railway Express,” referring to the notorious obscenity trials over James Joyce’s Ulysses that had been going on since 1922 and were finally settled in 1933.