mys·​ti·​cism | \ ˈmi-stə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce mysticism (audio) \

Definition of mysticism

1 : the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics
2 : the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (such as intuition or insight)
3a : vague speculation : a belief without sound basis
b : a theory postulating the possibility of direct and intuitive acquisition of ineffable knowledge or power

Examples of mysticism in a Sentence

Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mysticism. a student of Eastern mysticism
Recent Examples on the Web The Babylonian Talmud is a vast, rambling text written mostly in Aramaic that encompasses law codes, anecdotes, mysticism, customs, disputations and aphorisms, and serves as the cornerstone of Orthodox Jewish practices. Washington Post, "Orthodox women seek bigger role as Jews end Talmud cycle," 7 Jan. 2020 Race transcendence tended to mysticism in the Harlem Renaissance writer Jean Toomer, who made a sensation in literary circles with Cane (1923), his expressionist meditation on his experiences of the black South. Darryl Pinckney, The New York Review of Books, "Escaping Blackness," 10 Mar. 2020 Like many New Age dabblers in the nineteen-seventies, he was drawn to the Fourth Way—a brand of mysticism established by George Gurdjieff in the early twentieth century. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, "How Natural Wine Became a Symbol of Virtuous Consumption," 18 Nov. 2019 There is also a touch of Western desert mysticism à la Agnes Pelton — and the colossal spirit of Mark Rothko is certainly present. Matthew Bourbon, Dallas News, "Warm and fuzzy: Marjorie Norman Schwarz’s paintings at Dallas’ 12.26 gallery reward viewers’ patience," 15 Jan. 2020 Ram Dass, a popular author and white-robbed apostle of Eastern mysticism who began his transcendental journey more than 50 years ago as the right-hand disciple of psychedelic-drug advocate Timothy Leary, died Dec. 22 at his home on Maui. Bart Barnes, Washington Post, "Ram Dass, spiritual seeker who brought Eastern mysticism to the masses, dies at 88," 23 Dec. 2019 But the root cause of disaffection in the group involved something much more fundamental than its efforts to dabble in hip capitalism or pop mysticism. Jonathan Gould, The New Yorker, "When the Beatles Walked Offstage: Fifty Years of “Abbey Road”," 21 Oct. 2019 Jackie’s story dug into local history, national travesty, and the peculiar SoCal blend of industrial mysticism. Darren Franich,, "The Lodge 49 season finale is just perfect, and demands a season 3," 15 Oct. 2019 The failure of myth and mysticism in the modern institution is complemented by an obliteration of institutional memory. Michael Knox Beran, National Review, "Can Today’s Soulless Institutions Be Revived?," 6 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mysticism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mysticism

1724, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for mysticism

mystic entry 1 + -ism

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The first known use of mysticism was in 1724

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Last Updated

14 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mysticism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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How to pronounce mysticism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mysticism

: a religious practice based on the belief that knowledge of spiritual truth can be gained by praying or thinking deeply

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Britannica English: Translation of mysticism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about mysticism

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