ob·​scu·​ran·​tism äb-ˈskyu̇r-ən-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce obscurantism (audio)
: opposition to the spread of knowledge : a policy of withholding knowledge from the general public
: a style (as in literature or art) characterized by deliberate vagueness or abstruseness
: an act or instance of obscurantism
äb-ˈskyu̇r-ən-tist How to pronounce obscurantism (audio)
noun or adjective

Examples of obscurantism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The authors, three legal academics and a celebrated economist, charge that the eurozone’s technocratic obscurantism and self-defeating tendency toward austerity exacerbate inequality, right-wing populism, and Euroskepticism. Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs, 12 Aug. 2019 For 33 years, Salman Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism. Jason P. Frank, Vulture, 15 Aug. 2022 Of course this institutionalized flight toward obscurantism is not limited to Jews. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 29 Jan. 2013 May these words allow to put a stop to this unbearable coercion and open, at last, a new era in Iran, and wherever women are victim of obscurantism. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 5 Oct. 2022 More troubling still, universities can get away with obscurantism and enforced ideological conformism because of their enormous power over labor markets. Joel Kotkin, National Review, 29 Mar. 2022 The history of its practice in Jerusalem presents a parade of eccentrics and fanatics, enlivened by obscurantism and riot. Dominic Green, WSJ, 17 Dec. 2021 Imbued with a sense of grandeur, France harks back to the Enlightenment to speak about fighting obscurantism in the world today and proffers its secular universalism as a model for modern societies. New York Times, 23 Sep. 2021 Your homework assignment: Look up this exciting word — obscurantism. Gary Gilson, Star Tribune, 26 Dec. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'obscurantism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from German Obscurantismus or French obscurantisme, from Latin obscūrant-, obscūrans, present participle of obscūrāre "to darken, eclipse, conceal from knowledge" + German -ismus, French -isme -ism — more at obscure entry 2

First Known Use

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of obscurantism was in 1834

Dictionary Entries Near obscurantism

Cite this Entry

“Obscurantism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obscurantism. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

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