American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Intended for or understood by only a particular group: an esoteric cult. See Synonyms at mysterious.
- adj. Of or relating to that which is known by a restricted number of people.
- adj. Confined to a small group: esoteric interests.
- adj. Not publicly disclosed; confidential.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Literally, inner: originally applied to certain writings of Aristotle of a scientific, as opposed to a popular, character, and afterward to the secret or acroamatic teachings of Pythagoras; hence, in general, secret; intended to be communicated only to the initiated; profound.
- In embryology, endoblastic. See the extract.
- n. An esoteric doctrine.
- n. A believer in esoteric doctrines.
- adj. Understood only by a chosen few or an enlightened inner circle.
- adj. Having to do with concepts that are highly theoretical and without obvious practical application; often with mystical or religious connotations.
- adj. Confidential; private.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Designed for, and understood by, the specially initiated alone; not communicated, or not intelligible, to the general body of followers; private; interior; acroamatic; -- said of discussions of technical topics and of the private and more recondite instructions and doctrines of philosophers. Opposed to
- adj. Marked by secrecy or privacy; private; select; confidential.
- n. An esoteric doctrine or treatise; esoteric philosophy; esoterics.
- n. One who believes, or is an initiate, in esoteric doctrines or rites.
- adj. confined to and understandable by only an enlightened inner circle
- From Ancient Greek ἐσωτερικός (esōterikos, "belonging to an inner circle"), from ἐσωτέρω (esōterō, "further inside"), comparative of ἔσω (esō, "within"), from ἐς (es), εἰς (eis, "into") (esoteric originally referred to the secret teachings of Greek philosophers, versus public or exoteric ones). (Wiktionary)
- Greek esōterikos, from esōterō, comparative of esō, within; see en in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“During the credit crisis the word 'esoteric' became associated with deals that were too complex for investors to understand," Mr. Wishengrad said.”
“The only place one may find them is in esoteric and occult histories and their own works spread across at least seven generations.”
“Those of us Straussians would call it esoteric writing, which is necessary to varying degrees at all times because every regime has its own particular idols.”
“Certain esoteric sects and psuedo-scientists place considerable importance upon these rare objects, occasionally manifesting in hysterical and apocalyptic cults.”
“To fight back, I have prohibited my employees from describing events in esoteric terms," Stewart joked.”
“Speaking of chess programs, the show gets bonus points for occasionally throwing in esoteric trivia.”
“I'm probably sounding quite elitist when I criticize this annual event for going overboard with their "pimps and ho's" display of street fiction, which was the predominant genre, and I know that the Black Arts Movement believed that our literature needed to reach the level of the layperson, not simply written for the upper crust in esoteric language.”
“And any potential impact on longer-term esoteric growth?”
“One's rides certainly give Rome an inordinate scope for the reflective -- by which I suppose I mean after all the aesthetic and the "esoteric" -- life.”
“We've been called an esoteric company on an esoteric street," said Mr. Monsees.”
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