ad·​y·​tum | \ ˈa-də-təm How to pronounce adytum (audio) \
plural adyta\ ˈa-​də-​tə How to pronounce adytum (audio) \

Definition of adytum

: the innermost sanctuary in an ancient temple open only to priests : sanctum

First Known Use of adytum

1611, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for adytum

borrowed from Latin adytum, borrowed from Greek ádyton, neuter of ádytos "not to be entered," from a- a- entry 2 + -dytos, verbal adjective of dýein "to enter, make one's way into, sink," of uncertain origin

Note: Supposed kinship of the Greek verb with a Sanskrit gerundive upādútyaḥ "to be put on (of a belt)" is apparently groundless, as the Sanskrit word should properly be read as "to be burnt" and hence belongs with Sanskrit dunóti "(s/he) burns," Homeric Greek dédēe "blazes up" (see Karl Hoffmann, "Materialen zum altindischen Verbum," Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung, Band 79 [1965], pp. 177-81). The Greek verb is thus deprived of any secure Indo-European comparisons, with the possible exception of Armenian enerk "immersed (something)."

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Cite this Entry

“Adytum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on adytum

Britannica English: Translation of adytum for Arabic Speakers


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