Definitions

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

  • n. Reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief, as in philosophy or religion, especially when success is partial or the result is heterogeneous.
  • n. Linguistics The merging of two or more originally different inflectional forms.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The reconciliation or fusion of different systems or beliefs (or the attempt at such fusion)
  • n. The fusion of different inflexional forms

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Attempted union of principles or parties irreconcilably at variance with each other.
  • n. The union or fusion into one of two or more originally different inflectional forms, as of two cases.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The attempted reconciliation or union of irreconcilable principles or parties, as in philosophy or religion; specifically, the doctrines of a certain school in the Lutheran Church, followers of Calixtus, who attempted to effect a union among all Christians, Protestant and Catholic. Sec syncretist.

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

  • n. the fusion of originally different inflected forms (resulting in a reduction in the use of inflections)
  • n. the union (or attempted fusion) of different systems of thought or belief (especially in religion or philosophy)

Etymologies

Greek sunkrētismos, union, from sunkrētizein, to unite (in the manner of the Cretan cities) : sun-, syn- + Krēs, Krēt-, Cretan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin syncretismus, from Ancient Greek συγκρητισμός (synkrētismos, "federation of Cretan cities"), from συγκρητίζω (synkrētizō, "to unite against a common enemy"), from σύν (syn, "together") (English syn-) + Κρῆτες (Krētes, "Cretans") (English Cretans). Surface analysis is syn- + Crete + -ism “Crete joining together”. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • That all suggests a certain syncretism and perhaps even validation from the Lord Hisself who has simply stood by idly watching as Jimi chops down mountains and creates islands.

    Matthew Yglesias » Did Haiti Form a Pact With the Devil?

  • I have studied much of the world sacred literature and syncretism is quite common

    Think Progress » ThinkFast: April 9, 2010

  • He wants to avoid the syncretism, which is essentially saying your truth is as good as mine.

    CNN Transcript Sep 24, 2006

  • Since their religion was forbidden, they disguised their deities as Catholic saints, a phenomena called syncretism, of fusion of beliefs, that persists to this day.

    CNN Transcript Nov 19, 2005

  • I believe this is known as syncretism: take the local belief structure be it a winter solstice holiday with an evergreen tree or a belief that television or a computer is the most important thing to watch and twist it so it appears to have a religious method.

    IT and evangelism « Ewan's Corner

  • It is also called syncretism and compromise, and Saint Jude said all you need to hear about that sort of thing.

    Original Signal - Transmitting Digg

  • What Carter is advocating is syncretism, which is taking parts of many religions and putting them together into one basic religion.

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  • At the very least the matter of translation and interpretation of NA and LG on this point is in need of some clarification, for the sake of Catholics like Mr. Perkins or Mr. Hunter or Prodinoscopus, as well as for the sake of Catholics and non-Catholics who want to gloss over serious theological disagreements and/or promote some kind of syncretism or universalism.

    Tissier de Mallerais speaks The details of the doctrinal talks

  • One possible negative effect of the process of globalization is the tendency to favour this kind of syncretism by encouraging forms of “religion” that, instead of bringing people together, alienate them from one another and distance them from reality.

    Sir, How Dare You Presume?

  • The final chapter of the Zhuangzi, ˜Below in the Empire,™ exemplifies this kind of syncretism in its analysis of early intellectual traditions.

    Zhuangzi

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