Definition of esoteric in English:


Line breaks: eso|ter¦ic
Pronunciation: /ˌɛsəˈtɛrɪk
, ˌiːsə-/


Intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest: esoteric philosophical debates
More example sentences
  • The poems show his erudition to be wide, his historical knowledge sometimes esoteric.
  • Every illicit drug now has its own subculture, with its own esoteric knowledge, its own rituals and its own argot.
  • Well in fact that esoteric knowledge is quite an important theme in conspiracy theories.
complex, complicated, involved, over/above one's head, incomprehensible, opaque, unfathomable, impenetrable, mysterious, occult, little known, hidden, secret, private, mystic, magical, cabbalistic
rare involuted


mid 17th century: from Greek esōterikos, from esōterō, comparative of esō 'within', from es, eis 'into'. Compare with exoteric.



More example sentences
  • Could you sum up in your own words, for the benefit of our readers who are maybe not as esoterically educated, what the central thesis is?
  • Why write esoterically if one is obliged openly to announce the point of one's esotericism?
  • Whatever offensiveness the film once possessed has been diluted by the passage of time; now it simply feels stylish and bittersweet, if esoterically so.


More example sentences
  • From the 1970s onward, right-wing extremists began to repackage the old ideology of Aryan racism, elitism and force in new cultic guises involving esotericism and Eastern religions.
  • Ultimately though, a show about one painting is bound to invoke cries of art-historical esotericism from those who like their blockbusters with a broader spread.
  • These songs prove him capable of focusing more on visceral appeal and less on stagy esotericism while maintaining his intellectual ambition, and one hopes this album is a stepping stone toward cementing this vision.


More example sentences
  • They are esotericists and are considered heretical by the Khomeinists.
  • May I suggest that he familiarize himself a bit more with the tactics of esotericists - both ancient and modern!
  • It is difficult to pinpoint the precise moment at which the Theosophical Society began to decline and British esotericists began to turn to other Eastern interpreters.

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