mys·​ti·​cism | \ˈmis-tə-ˌsi-zəm \

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 outfit was beloved by Jews and goyim alike — notably Madonna, circa her studying Kabbalah (that is, Jewish mysticism) phase. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "How the JAP became America’s most complex Jewish stereotype.," 5 Dec. 2018 Those interested in mysticism and indigenous Mexican religions, from Santa Muerte to Voodoo, will be particularly delighted by the wares. Scarlett Lindeman, Condé Nast Traveler, "13 Best Markets in Mexico City," 5 Mar. 2018 Chaldean numerology is based on ancient Babylonian practices, and Kabbalistic studies of Jewish mysticism explore recurring digits within the Old Testament. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "The Basics of Numerology: How to Calculate Your Life Path and Destiny Numbers," 16 July 2018 There is an ethereal mysticism to the lyrical passages, and a big-hearted warmth. Mark Swed,, "As a conductor, composer and man, Oliver Knussen was larger than life," 10 July 2018 The police operation marked the beginning of the end for York, a pseudo-religious leader who eluded justice for decades while amassing a nationwide following for his bizarre blend of religion, mysticism and claims about alien life. Christine Pelisek,, "The Story Behind a Black Supremacist Cult That Lived in Egyptian-Themed Compound in Rural Georgia," 6 July 2018 The California producer and live performer can serve exotic mysticism or stomping big-room booms. Kat Bein, Billboard, "KSHMR Brings Big Pop Brightness on 'Carry Me Home' With Jake Reese: Exclusive," 14 June 2018 As far as Lopez can remember, her life revolved around York, an ex-con who in the 60’s founded his own Muslim sect that preached black supremacist ideas and Islamic mysticism. Christine Pelisek,, "I Brought Down a Cult: Ex-Member Helped Catch the Child Molester Running an Egyptian-Themed Sect," 4 July 2018 The band, which has toured with bands like Underoath and Norma Jean, has written songs about Sufi mysticism, historical accidents, love and eternity. John Adamian,, "Seven Concerts You Might Want To See (And Why)," 9 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of mysticism

1724, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for mysticism

mystic entry 1 + -ism

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mysticism

Dictionary Entries near mysticism








Statistics for mysticism

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mysticism

The first known use of mysticism was in 1724

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mysticism



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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mysticism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mysticism

Spanish Central: Translation of mysticism

Nglish: Translation of mysticism for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on mysticism

What made you want to look up mysticism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!