Origin of occult

1520–30; < Latin occultus (past participle of occulere to hide from view, cover up), equivalent to oc- oc- + -cul-, akin to cēlāre to conceal + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsoc·cult·er, nounoc·cult·ly, adverboc·cult·ness, nounnon·oc·cult, adjectivenon·oc·cult·ing, adjective

Synonyms for occult

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for occult

Contemporary Examples of occult

Historical Examples of occult

  • The intimacy of occult things isolates also these wise little birds.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • I do not mean to say that they did this with any occult or metaphysical motives.

  • He had neither patience for presentiments nor faith in anything that bordered on the occult.

    Rim o' the World

    B. M. Bower

  • "Oh, it's some of that occult rot, I don't doubt," groaned Roger.

    The Forbidden Trail

    Honor Willsie

  • Men feel that he is in some occult way different from them, yet they do not know just how.

British Dictionary definitions for occult


adjective (ɒˈkʌlt, ˈɒkʌlt)

  1. of or characteristic of magical, mystical, or supernatural arts, phenomena, or influences
  2. (as noun)the occult
beyond ordinary human understanding
secret or esoteric

verb (ɒˈkʌlt)

astronomy (of a celestial body) to hide (another celestial body) from view by occultation or (of a celestial body) to become hidden by occultation
to hide or become hidden or shut off from view
(intr) (of lights, esp in lighthouses) to shut off at regular intervals
Derived Formsoccultly, adverboccultness, noun

Word Origin for occult

C16: from Latin occultus, past participle of occulere, from ob- over, up + -culere, related to celāre to conceal
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 occult

1530s, "secret, not divulged," from Middle French occulte and directly from Latin occultus "hidden, concealed, secret," past participle of occulere "cover over, conceal," from ob "over" (see ob-) + a verb related to celare "to hide," from PIE root *kel- "to hide" (see cell). Meaning "not apprehended by the mind, beyond the range of understanding" is from 1540s. The association with the supernatural sciences (magic, alchemy, astrology, etc.) dates from 1630s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

occult in Medicine


[ə-kŭlt, ŏkŭlt′]


Hidden; concealed.
Detectable only by microscopic examination or chemical analysis.
Not accompanied by readily detectable signs or symptoms.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.