[ es-uh-tuh-riz-uhm, es-uh-ter-iz- ]
/ ˈɛs ə təˌrɪz əm, ˌɛs əˈtɛr ɪz- /
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Origin of esoterism

1825–35; <Greek esóter(os) inner + -ism


es·o·ter·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does esoterism mean?

Esoterism is the state or quality of being esotericobscure and only understood or intended to be understood by a small number of people with special (and perhaps secret) knowledge.

Esoterism is more commonly called esotericism. Another name for it is esotery.

Esoterism often involves knowledge that’s only intended to be revealed to people who have been initiated into a certain group. The word is closely associated with mysticism and the occult.

The word esoterism can also refer to esoteric beliefs or writings. A similar term is esoterica, which collectively refers to such knowledge or to books and other works that contain such topics.

Someone who practices esoterism or holds such beliefs can be called an esoterist.

Example: To the uninitiated, this kind of esoterism is impenetrably arcane.

Where does esoterism come from?

The first records of the word esoterism come from the 1800s. It comes from the Greek esóter(os), meaning “inner.” The suffix -ism indicates a state, condition, doctrine, or system.

Esoterism involves things that can only be understood by an inner circle of people, such as those with in-depth knowledge of an obscure subject. When you come across something that is veiled in esoterism, it’s often difficult to understand what any of it means, unless you happen to have the esoteric knowledge needed to comprehend it.

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What are some other forms related to esoterism?

What are some synonyms for esoterism?

What are some words that share a root or word element with esoterism


What are some words that often get used in discussing esoterism?

How is esoterism used in real life?

The word esoterism is often used in discussion of mystical and occult topics, especially obscure writings about them.



Try using esoterism!

Is esoterism used correctly in the following sentence?

My local independent bookstore has an impressive collection of esoterism—there’s some really far-out stuff in there!

How to use esoterism in a sentence

  • The latest religious invention in America is Esoterism, which promises immortality to its followers—immortality, that is all!