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Word of the Day
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Definitions for exoteric

  1. popular; simple; commonplace.
  2. suitable for or communicated to the general public.
  3. not belonging, limited, or pertaining to the inner or select circle, as of disciples or intimates.

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Citations for exoteric
I was on a holiday, and was engaged in that rich and intricate mass of pleasures, duties, and discoveries which for the keeping off of the profane, we disguise by the exoteric name of Nothing. G. K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles, 1909
Practical or exoteric alchemy was concerned chiefly with attempts to prepare the philosopher's stone, a hypothetical transmuting and healing agent capable of curing the imagined diseases of metals and the real ones of man. John Read, "A grandiose philosophical system," New Scientist, February 21, 1957
Origin of exoteric
1645-1655
Exoteric, the opposite of esoteric, comes from Latin exōtericus “popular (e.g., of books); not overly technical or abstruse,” a borrowing of Greek exōterikós “external, outside, popular.” The first element of the Greek word is the adverb éxō “out, out of, outside”; the last element, -ikós, is a typical adjective suffix. The middle element, -ter-, is usually called a comparative suffix, which is only one of its functions. The suffix -ter is also used in Latin and Greek to form natural or complementary pairs, e.g., Latin nōster “our” and vester “your,” and dexter “right (hand)” and sinister “left (hand).” The Latin adjectives correspond with Greek hēméteros “our” and hyméteros “your,” and dexiterós “right (hand)” and aristerós “left (hand).” Aristerós is a euphemism meaning “better (hand)” (áristos means “best” in Greek, as in aristocracy “rule of the best”). Exoteric entered English in the 17th century.