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esoteric

[es-uh-ter-ik]
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adjective
  1. understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest; recondite: poetry full of esoteric allusions.
  2. belonging to the select few.
  3. private; secret; confidential.
  4. (of a philosophical doctrine or the like) intended to be revealed only to the initiates of a group: the esoteric doctrines of Pythagoras.
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Origin of esoteric

1645–55; < Greek esōterikós inner, equivalent to esṓter(os) inner + -ikos -ic
Related formses·o·ter·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·es·o·ter·ic, adjectivenon·es·o·ter·i·cal·ly, adverbun·es·o·ter·ic, adjective
Can be confusedesoteric exoteric

Synonyms

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1. abstruse, arcane, cryptic, enigmatic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for esoterically

Historical Examples

  • Esoterically, she is the daughter of the exalted God, and she is the soul.

    Sex=The Unknown Quantity

    Ali Nomad

  • M. Bourgeat hazards the suggestion that esoterically it is the symbol of evolution—of which it carries none of the signs.

  • He desired that the Kabbala be taught only in secret (esoterically), and be not expounded in public.

  • Esoterically understood, his novel teaches a doctrine of mysticism, intuitionalism, and materialism combined.

    Balzac

    Frederick Lawton


British Dictionary definitions for esoterically

esoteric

adjective
  1. restricted to or intended for an enlightened or initiated minority, esp because of abstruseness or obscurityan esoteric cult Compare exoteric
  2. difficult to understand; abstrusean esoteric statement
  3. not openly admitted; privateesoteric aims
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Derived Formsesoterically, adverbesotericism, noun

Word Origin

C17: from Greek esōterikos, from esōterō inner
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 esoterically

esoteric

adj.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper