Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The syncretic, dualistic religious philosophy taught by the Persian prophet Manes, combining elements of Zoroastrian, Christian, and Gnostic thought and opposed by the imperial Roman government, Neo-Platonist philosophers, and orthodox Christians.
  • n. A dualistic philosophy dividing the world between good and evil principles or regarding matter as intrinsically evil and mind as intrinsically good.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. A syncretic, dualistic religion that combined elements of Zoroastrian, Christian, and Gnostic thought, founded by the Iranian prophet Mani in 3rd century AD.
  • proper n. A dualistic philosophy dividing the world between good and evil principles, or regarding matter as intrinsically evil and mind as intrinsically good.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The doctrines taught, or system of principles maintained, by the Manichæans.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See Manicheism.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a religion founded by Manes in the third century; a synthesis of Zoroastrian dualism between light and dark and Babylonian folklore and Buddhist ethics and superficial elements of Christianity; spread widely in the Roman Empire but had largely died out by 1000

Etymologies

From Latin Manichaeus +‎ -ism, from Classical Syriac ܡܐܢܝ ܚܝܐ (Mānī ḥayyā, "Living Mani"), from the name of its founder, Mani, from Middle Persian and Classical Syriac Mānī (Modern Persian مانی (Māni)). (Wiktionary)

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