Definition of Manichaean in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌmanəˈkēən/
(also Manichean)


chiefly historical
1Relating to Manichaeism.
Example sentences
  • The cardinal presented a strange, Manichean interpretation of twentieth-century history.
  • However, haunted not only by his Manichean past but, soon, by Pelagian boasts of human moral competence, Augustine was never able to shake his anxieties about freedom.
  • She denies any supernatural or Manichean force of evil.
1.1Of or characterized by dualistic contrast or conflict between opposites.
Example sentences
  • And if good can come from evil, does this undermine a simplistic Manichean view of morality?
  • Impatience and Manichean thinking are among the burdens of youth politics, whether in Berkeley or Cairo.
  • Both men felt an early attraction to religious faith, a Manichaean inner conflict between flesh and spirit, a difficulty with responsibility and commitment, and a genius for humor and satire.


An adherent of Manichaeism.
Example sentences
  • Martin declares that he is a Manichaean, someone who believes that the material world is fundamentally evil.
  • A Manichean who believes the world is essentially evil will draw radically different moral lessons than a pantheist who finds God present everywhere in his creation.
  • Augustine was particularly sensitive to this need, because for many years as a young man he was a Manichean and hence denied the authenticity and relevance of the Old Testament for salvation.



Pronunciation: /-ˈkēəˌnizəm/
Example sentences
  • Christians, however, considered Manicheanism to be an errant version of their own faith.
  • Although Manichaeanism is said to be dead, there are many manuscripts in circulation today.
  • This difficulty is fatal to Lewis's refutation of Manicheanism and, more significantly, to his moral argument.
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