ob·​scu·​ran·​tism | \ äb-ˈskyu̇r-ən-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce obscurantism (audio) , əb-; ˌäb-skyu̇-ˈran- \

Definition of obscurantism

1 : opposition to the spread of knowledge : a policy of withholding knowledge from the general public
2a : a style (as in literature or art) characterized by deliberate vagueness or abstruseness
b : an act or instance of obscurantism

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Other Words from obscurantism

obscurantist \ äb-​ˈskyu̇r-​ən-​tist How to pronounce obscurantism (audio) , əb-​ ; ˌäb-​skyu̇-​ˈran-​tist \ noun or adjective

Examples of obscurantism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Your homework assignment: Look up this exciting word — obscurantism. Gary Gilson, Star Tribune, 26 Dec. 2020 The obscurantism isn’t confined to talking heads and detached national politicians, either. Tobias Hoonhout, National Review, 3 Sep. 2020 Peters seemed to others to be a genius at two things: mimicking the verbal pretentiousness and obscurantism of academic parlance and sweeping naïve young women off their feet by means of an alchemy that remained mysterious to everyone else. New York Times, 14 Feb. 2020 Some early reviewers of The Second Sleep, which was published in the U.K. at the start of September, gave the impression that Harris had issued a rather straightforward warning against the threat of religious obscurantism and fanaticism. John Wilson, National Review, 5 Dec. 2019 The secular Republic—as defended by Sarkozy, Hollande, and then Valls, along with numerous intellectuals and editorial writers—conveniently united the fight against Islamist obscurantism in France with that in Afghanistan. Rony Brauman, Harper's magazine, 10 Apr. 2019 Some of his ire is justified—there is a lot of obscurantism in the world—but most works to bypass rather than engage. Samuel Moyn, The New Republic, 19 Mar. 2018 This started to take effect even before the Internet took off, on account of crate-digging, esotericism and obscurantism, and the burgeoning reissue industry. Bruce Sterling, WIRED, 2 Sep. 2011

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obscurantism.' 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 obscurantism

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of obscurantism was in 1834

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Cite this Entry

“Obscurantism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obscurantism. Accessed 28 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for obscurantism



English Language Learners Definition of obscurantism

: the practice of keeping knowledge or understanding about something from people : the policy of not letting people know something


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