adjective ex·o·ter·ic \ˌek-sə-ˈter-ik\

Definition of exoteric

  1. 1a :  suitable to be imparted to the public the exoteric doctrine — compare esotericb :  belonging to the outer or less initiate circle

  2. 2 :  relating to the outside :  external


play \ˌek-sə-ˈter-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

exoteric was our Word of the Day on 10/24/2008. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Exoteric derives from Latin exōtericus, which is itself from Greek exoterikos, meaning "external," and ultimately from "exo, meaning "outside." "Exō" has a number of offspring in English, including "exotic," "exonerate," "exorbitant," and the combining form "exō-" or "ex-" (as in "exoskeleton" and "exobiology"). The antonym of "exoteric" is esoteric, meaning "designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone"; it descends from the Greek word for within," "esō."

Origin and Etymology of exoteric

Latin & Greek; Latin exotericus, from Greek exōterikos, literally, external, from exōterō more outside, comparative of exō outside — more at exo-

First Known Use: 1660

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to criticize severely

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