top ten lists
advertisement
ask the editors
advertisement
advertisement

December 19, 2014

Word of the Day

  • syncretic
  • audio pronunciation
  • \sin-KRET-ik\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: characterized or brought about by a combination of different forms of belief or practice

  • EXAMPLE

Dr. Portman practices a syncretic form of medicine, borrowing from both Eastern and Western medical traditions.

"Her CV cites disparate accomplishments as a scientist, writer, and artist—and teacher…. Moreover, her career arc represents a syncretic impulse that characterizes her general outlook on life." — Glen Martin, Forbes, November 4, 2014

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Syncretic has its roots in an ancient alliance. It's a descendant of the Greek word synkrētismos, meaning "federation of Cretan cities"—syn- means "together, with," and Krēt- means "Cretan." The adjective first appeared in English in the mid-19th century, and the related noun syncretism debuted over 200 years earlier. Syncretic retains the idea of coalition and appears in such contexts as "syncretic religions," "syncretic societies," and even "syncretic music," all describing things influenced by two or more styles or traditions. The word also has a specific application in linguistics, where it refers to a fusion of inflectional forms.

  • SHARE THIS WORD OF THE DAY
facebook twitter digg myspace email
  • PODCAST

Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP

  • SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to the Word of the Day e-mail

Manage Your Account

  • ARCHIVES

Visit the Word of the Day Archives