- The definition of esoteric is something only understood by a chosen group.
An example of esoteric is pa++ern, an embroidery language.
- intended for or understood by only a chosen few, as an inner group of disciples or initiates: said of ideas, literature, etc.
- beyond the understanding or knowledge of most people; abstruse
- confidential; private; withheld: an esoteric plan
Origin of esotericClassical Greek esōterikos ; from esōteros, inner, comparative of esō, within ; from es, eis, into
- a. Intended for or understood by only a small group, especially one with specialized knowledge or interests: an esoteric philosophical doctrine. See Synonyms at mysterious.b. Relating to or being a small group with specialized knowledge or interests: an esoteric circle.
- Not known by or suitable for the public; private: Few understood the celebrity's esoteric side.
- One that is esoteric.
- esoterics Esoteric matters; esoterica: “The course &ellipsis; is anything but an exercise in ivory tower esoterics” (Sharon Waxman).
Origin of esotericGreek esōterikos, from esōterō, comparative of esō, within; see en in Indo-European roots.
(comparative more esoteric, superlative most esoteric)
- intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest, or an enlightened inner circle.
- The writing in this manual is very esoteric; I need a degree in engineering just to understand it!
- Having to do with concepts that are highly theoretical and without obvious practical application; often with mystical or religious connotations.
- Confidential; private.
From Ancient Greek ἐσωτερικός (esōterikos, “belonging to an inner circle”), from ἐσωτέρω (esōterō, “further inside”), comparative of ἔσω (esō, “within”), from ἐς (es), εἰς (eis, “into”) (esoteric originally referred to the secret teachings of Greek philosophers, versus public or exoteric ones).