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From Latin exōtericus, from Ancient Greek ἐξωτερικός (exōterikós, external), adjectival form of ἐξώτερος (exṓteros, outside).


  • IPA(key): /ˌɛksoˈtɛɹɪk/
  • Hyphenation: ex‧o‧ter‧ic
  • Rhymes: -ɛrɪk
  • (file)


exoteric (comparative more exoteric, superlative most exoteric)

  1. Suitable to be imparted to the public without secrecy or other reserves
    • De Quincey
      The foppery of an exoteric and esoteric doctrine.
    • 2007, Reza Shah-Kazemi, “Frithjof Schuon and Prayer”, in Martin Lings, editor, The Underlying Religion[1], →ISBN, page 301:
      Again, it is folly to belittle the significance of the canonical prayer — or exoteric rites in general — out of some presumptuous notion of esoterism.
  2. (by extension) Accessible; capable of being readily or fully comprehended; or, having an obvious application
    • 1977, Gaynor Jones and Jay Rahn, "Definitions of Popular Music: Recycled," Journal of Aesthetic Education, vol. 11, no. 4. (October), page 81:
      The grouping together of folk and elite might be termed relatively "esoteric", in contrast to the more "exoteric" popular forms.
  3. (rare) Public or popular; having wide currency
    • 1850, Thomas Carlyle, “Downing Street”, in Latter-Day Pamphlets[2], page 7:
      Such, from sad personal experience and credited prevailing rumor, is the exoteric public conviction about these sublime establishments in Downing Street and the neighborhood, the esoteric mysteries of which are indeed still held sacred by the initiated, but believed by the world to be mere Dalai-Lama pills, manufactured let not refined lips hint how, and quite un-salvatory to mankind.
  4. (obsolete) External
    • 1790, William Paley, Horae Paulinae[3], 1796 edition edition, page 188:
      [] this motive appears to have been always exoteric, namely, a love of order and tranquility, or an unwillingness to give unnecessary offence.


Derived termsEdit


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