- understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest; recondite: poetry full of esoteric allusions.
- belonging to the select few.
- private; secret; confidential.
- (of a philosophical doctrine or the like) intended to be revealed only to the initiates of a group: the esoteric doctrines of Pythagoras.
Origin of esoteric
SynonymsSee more synonyms for esoteric on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for esoteric
There is a pill in Tibetan Buddhism that contains a lot of esoteric ingredients, some of which are bodily substances.How to Think With Your Gut
April 9, 2013
He noted that some esoteric historians call them “Palestinians.”Moshe Feiglin Is Now Mainstream
December 7, 2012
Suddenly you can hold forth about leading and kerning and other esoteric aspects of typesetting.Instagram App Deepens Class Warfare Between Apple and Android Smartphones
April 6, 2012
In the old days it was not uncommon for the admissions officer to pose some esoteric—make that wacko—question.Do College Interviews Count?
Steve Cohen, Mike Muska
October 6, 2011
Dig deeper into exotic and esoteric areas of interest for direction in creative pursuits, especially.Zodiac Beast
Starsky + Cox
April 9, 2011
He was again conscious of that esoteric disturbance in his temples.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
The design of this cave-like aperture should betray its esoteric meaning.Sex=The Unknown Quantity
There might be an esoteric book for the individual's own account of himself.The Task of Social Hygiene
A key to some great and deep occult teachings, and esoteric mysteries.The Human Aura
Instruct him in the meaning of the Vedas,Reveal to him their esoteric sense.V.The Buddha
- restricted to or intended for an enlightened or initiated minority, esp because of abstruseness or obscurityan esoteric cult Compare exoteric
- difficult to understand; abstrusean esoteric statement
- not openly admitted; privateesoteric aims
Word Origin and History for esoteric
1650s, from Greek esoterikos "belonging to an inner circle," from esotero "more within," comparative adverb of eso "within," related to eis "into," en "in" (see en- (2)).
In English, originally of Pythagorean doctrines. According to Lucian, the division of teachings into exoteric and esoteric originated with Aristotle.