Adjective "esoteric" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


Intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.
  1. 'Why did what was formerly seen as an esoteric cultural theory go from the margins of academia to the mainstream of public debate?'
  2. 'While much of the text would be too esoteric for all but the art-history scholar, it does raise broader questions.'
  3. 'This has led him to an interest in the esoteric world of art restoration.'
  4. 'Although the text is more accessible, it also loses its mysterious and esoteric qualities.'
  5. 'The trivia enthusiast in me thrilled to discover oodles of esoteric tidbits on every page - and not just about salt.'
  6. 'The poems show his erudition to be wide, his historical knowledge sometimes esoteric.'
  7. 'Deep, hidden or esoteric meanings of the text are rejected in favour of its plain meaning.'
  8. 'The Left makes incredibly esoteric distinctions based on the motives of the social planners doing the killing.'
  9. 'When so few people have been encouraged to learn trades, the special skills involved in them become esoteric.'
  10. 'Butler's report will be full of esoteric recommendations about working practices inside government.'


1. understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest; recondite: poetry full of esoteric allusions.

2. belonging to the select few.

3. private; secret; confidential.

4. (of a philosophical doctrine or the like) intended to be revealed only to the initiates of a group: the esoteric doctrines of Pythagoras.

More examples(as adjective)

"whichs can be esoteric as craft."

"people can be esoteric as people."

"issues can be esoteric."

"knowledges can be esoteric."

"domains can be esoteric."

More examples++


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