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

  • n. The study of the supernatural.
  • n. A belief in occult powers and the possibility of bringing them under human control.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The study of the supernatural
  • n. A belief in occult powers and the hope of controlling them

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A certain Oriental system of theosophy.
  • n. Belief in occult powers or in supernatural forces other than the God of traditional religions, such as in magic, necromancy, alchemy, and astrology.
  • n. The study and alleged use of supernatural agencies as in magic, astrology, witchcraft, alchemy, necromancy, spiritualism (communication with the dead), and fortune-telling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The doctrine, practice, or rites of things occult or mysterious; the occult sciences or their study; mysticism; esotericism.

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

  • n. the study of the supernatural
  • n. a belief in supernatural powers and the possibility of bringing them under human control


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Some extend the term occultism to cover mysticism and the spiritual life generally, but that is not a legitimate use of either word.

    The Builders A Story and Study of Masonry

  • Though modern occultism is interesting, it is (a) not unanimous in its naming conventions (nor in its theology or cosmology), (b) largely a Modern synthesis anyway, so not archetypal, and (c) apparently ineffective by standards of most fantasy and legend, so - unlike, say martial arts - has no firm claim to objective validity.

    Why you can call your fantasy mages what you like

  • The mystic, the teacher, and the philosopher are following the path of Gnani; so is the true occultist, but many who deal in so-called occultism are employing _knowledge_ only, entirely missing the higher quality -- _wisdom_.

    Cosmic Consciousness

  • Nor has this spiritual power any conceivable relation to what is currently known as occultism, or a thing to be attained by any series of prescribed outer actions.

    The Life Radiant

  • This old pundit was himself a distinguished mesmerist, and though generally unwilling to talk about what is termed occultism, on finding in me a man naturally endowed with the physical characteristics necessary to those pursuits, he had given me several valuable hints as to the application of my powers.

    Mr. Isaacs

  • It is also clear - at least as far as those 'occult systems' with their own complex cosmologies are concerned - that what might be perceived by an outsider as "occultism", is to the practitioner quite possibly religion.

    Boing Boing: May 30, 2004 - June 5, 2004 Archives

  • We are not in any way trying to focus attention on some empty kind of occultism, or to suggest a semi-crazy, semi-magical interpretation of facts.

    FallNews - all mud and witches

  • His numerous works, chiefly philosophical, have a strong bias toward "occultism", and run counter to the received opinions of his time in theology and scholastic philosophy.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Aachen-Assize

  • Whatever may be the precise force of the remark in brackets, it is unquestionably true that mysticism is often used in a semi-contemptuous way to denote vaguely any kind of occultism or spiritualism, or any specially curious or fantastic views about God and the universe.

    Mysticism in English Literature

  • At the very time that I was at Adyar, and despite a certain repugnance to "occultism," sympathetically appreciating the serene harmony of the

    The Arena Volume 4, No. 23, October, 1891

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