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See more synonyms for exoteric on Thesaurus.com
  1. suitable for or communicated to the general public.
  2. not belonging, limited, or pertaining to the inner or select circle, as of disciples or intimates.
  3. popular; simple; commonplace.
  4. pertaining to the outside; exterior; external.
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Origin of exoteric

1645–55; < Late Latin exōtericus external < Greek exōterikós, equivalent to exṓter(os) inclined outward (exō- exo- + -teros comparative suffix) + -ikos -ic
Related formsex·o·ter·i·cal·ly, adverbex·o·ter·i·cism, noun
Can be confusedesoteric exoteric
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for exoteric

exterior, outlying, outdoor, outer, external, extraterrestrial, peripheral, over, surface, alien, beyond, extraneous, extrinsic, outermost, outside, outward, remote, superficial, without, outmost

Examples from the Web for exoteric

Historical Examples of exoteric

  • They are exoteric, now from the people's point of view, now from that of the priests.

    The Expositor's Bible:The Book of Numbers

    Robert A. Watson

  • The former were called his esoteric, the latter his exoteric, discourses.

  • The Essenes had their "Exoteric" and their "Esoteric" doctrines.

  • With the teachers of exoteric knowledge it is 'Obey or be damned!'

  • This Marquis, though he had his exoteric politics, had his esoteric feelings.

    Marion Fay

    Anthony Trollope

British Dictionary definitions for exoteric


  1. intelligible to or intended for more than a select or initiated minorityan exoteric account of a philosophical doctrine
  2. external; exterior
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Derived Formsexoterically, adverbexotericism, noun

Word Origin for exoteric

C17: from Latin exōtericus external, from Greek exōterikos, from exōterō further outside; see exo-
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 exoteric


1650s, from Late Latin exotericus, from Greek exoterikos, from exotero, comparative of exo (see exo-).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

exoteric in Medicine


  1. Arising outside the organism; of external origin.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.