[ es-uh-ter-ee ]
/ ˈɛs əˌtɛr i /
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Origin of esotery

1755–65; <Greek esóter(os) inner + -y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does esotery mean?

Esotery 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.

Esotery is more commonly called esotericism. Another name for it is esoterism.

Esotery 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 esotery 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.

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

Where does esotery come from?

The first records of the word esotery come from the mid-1700s. It comes from the Greek esóter(os), meaning “inner.” The suffix -y is used to form abstract nouns.

Esotery 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 esotery, 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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How is esotery used in real life?

The word esotery is typically used in discussion of mystical and occult topics, especially obscure writings about them. The word esotericism means the same thing but is more common.



Try using esotery!

Is esotery used correctly in the following sentence?

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