Man·​i·​chae·​an ˌma-nə-ˈkē-ən How to pronounce Manichaean (audio)
variants or Manichean or Manichee
: a believer in a syncretistic religious dualism (see dualism sense 3) originating in Persia in the third century a.d. and teaching the release of the spirit from matter through asceticism
: a believer in religious or philosophical dualism
Manichaean adjective
or Manichean
Manichaeanism noun
Manichaeism noun

Examples of Manichaean in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Beth the romantic, Beth the chaotic, Beth the Manichaean. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 16 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Manichaean.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin manichaeus, from Late Greek manichaios, from Manichaios Manes died about a.d. 276 Persian founder of the sect

First Known Use

1556, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Manichaean was in 1556

Dictionary Entries Near Manichaean

Cite this Entry

“Manichaean.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

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