Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Completely sealed, especially against the escape or entry of air.
  • adjective Impervious to outside interference or influence.
  • adjective Mythology Of or relating to Hermes Trismegistus or the works ascribed to him.
  • adjective Having to do with the occult sciences, especially alchemy; magical.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of or pertaining to Hermes.
  • [cap. or lowercase] Pertaining to Hermes Trismegistus, or to the theosophy, cosmogony, and later alchemy and astrology associated with his name; alchemic.
  • Of or pertaining to a hermes: as, a hermetic column.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of, pertaining to, or taught by, Hermes Trismegistus. Hence: Alchemical; chemic.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to the system which explains the causes of diseases and the operations of medicine on the principles of the hermetic philosophy, and which made much use, as a remedy, of an alkali and an acid.
  • adjective Made perfectly close or air-tight by fusion, so that no gas or spirit can enter or escape. See Note under Hermetically.
  • adjective alchemy.
  • adjective Books which treat of universal principles, of the nature and orders of celestial beings, of medicine, and other topics.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to Hermes Trismegistus.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to alchemy or occult practices.
  • adjective Obscure; secret or unrevealed.
  • adjective Isolated, away from outside influence.
  • adjective Airtight or gas-tight; impervious to air or gases.

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

  • adjective completely sealed; completely airtight

Etymologies

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

[New Latin hermēticus, alchemical, from Medieval Latin Hermēs (Trismegistus); see Hermes Trismegistus.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Greek god and mythological alchemist Hermes Trismegistus, who was said to possess a magic ability to seal (with spells) treasure chests so that nothing could access their contents.

Examples

  • It is progressive to not only increase knowledge of the world, but to spread this knowledge as widely as possible; to wrap one's arguments in hermetic language is itself reactionary, supporting the position that there is a select "elite" who can understand these issues and cutting pretty much everyone else off from them.

    A Bland and Deadly Courtesy

  • We pollute, litter and desecrate our own country because we live in hermetic air-conditioned vinyl castles.

    Police Continue Serial Rapist DNA Hunt at cvillenews.com

  • He knows how to work with a composer he described as "hermetic, private and living in the extreme remoteness of the Orkney Islands, where you can't easily get hold of him, so it all has to happen rather at arm's length."

    NYT > Home Page

  • He knows how to work with a composer he described as "hermetic, private and living in the extreme remoteness of the Orkney Islands, where you can't easily get hold of him, so it all has to happen rather at arm's length."

    NYT > Home Page

  • The little we have learned is called hermetic knowledge, and the spells that summon forth their true appearance is called the cabala by some.

    Iconologia

  • The little we have learned is called hermetic knowledge, and the spells that summon forth their true appearance is called the cabala by some.

    Archive 2009-01-01

  • When later in life her work was called hermetic and she herself a "sacred monster," it was to her own great dismay.

    The Brazilian Sphinx

  • Carnac would repeat the phrase, rip the "hermetic" seal, blow into the envelope, repeat the phrase again, then reveal the inner query:

    Linda Milazzo: The King, The Jester, And The Fool

  • Carnac would repeat the phrase, rip the "hermetic" seal, blow into the envelope, repeat the phrase again, then reveal the inner query:

    The King, The Jester, And The Fool

  • Aegineta, and for that matter in certain Egyptian papyri (especially a certain very famous one, still extant, of which Clement of Alexandria speaks as a secret or 'hermetic' book), we can trace the broken and scattered stones of a great edifice of ancient chemistry.

    The Legacy of Greece Essays By: Gilbert Murray, W. R. Inge, J. Burnet, Sir T. L. Heath, D'arcy W. Thompson, Charles Singer, R. W. Livingston, A. Toynbee, A. E. Zimmern, Percy Gardner, Sir Reginald Blomfield

Comments

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  • It reminds me of one of my favourite words "Hermeneutic"

    April 10, 2009