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

adjective

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

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.

Test Your Memory: What word of Indian origin begins with "n," refers to a person of great wealth or importance, and was our Word of the Day on December 14th? The answer is …

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