oc·​cult | \ ə-ˈkəlt, ä-\
occulted; occulting; occults

Definition of occult

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

: to shut off from view or exposure : cover, eclipse the light of a star that was about to be occulted … by Uranus itself— Jonathan Eberhart


oc·​cult | \ ə-ˈkəlt, ä-; ˈä-ˌkəlt \

Definition of occult (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : not revealed : secret deep subterranean occult jealousy— J. C. Powys
2 : not easily apprehended or understood : abstruse, mysterious occult matters like nuclear physics, radiation effects and the designing of rockets— Robert Bendiner
3 : hidden from view : concealed occult underground passages
4 : of or relating to the occult … the occult arts—astrology, palmistry, card reading …— Amy Fine Collins occult practices
5 : not manifest or detectable by clinical methods alone occult carcinoma also : not present in macroscopic amounts occult blood in a stool


\ ə-ˈkəlt, ä-; ˈä-ˌkəlt \

Definition of occult (Entry 3 of 3)

: matters regarded as involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers or some secret knowledge of them used with the

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Other Words from occult


occulter noun


occultly adverb

Examples of occult in a Sentence


occulted their house from prying eyes by planting large trees around it the actor's private life had long been occulted by a contrived public persona


occult practices such as magic and fortune-telling He began to believe he had occult powers.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In July, 2017, the object occulted a star, and telescopes observed its tiny shadow passing across the star. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "The soon-to-be-famous object at the Solar System’s edge needs a name," 7 Nov. 2017 And for some lucky sky-watchers in eastern Brazil and in central and southern Africa, the moon will occult the star. National Geographic, "Spring Meteor Shower and 6 More Sky Events in May," 1 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

For The House with a Clock in Its Walls, Bellairs drew inspiration from the public’s rising fascination with the occult as well as the perennial success of intrepid juvenile heroes like Tom Swift, Danny Dunn, and Nancy Drew. Noel Murray, The Verge, "For more kid-friendly horror like The House with a Clock in Its Walls, stream The Gate," 21 Sep. 2018 Inspired by ancient occult symbols, the Black Sun was incorporated into a mosaic on the floor of Wewelsburg Castle in western Germany — the ideological home base of Heinrich Himmler and the SS. Elizabeth Schumacher, USA TODAY, "Shakira selling Nazi-like trinket for 'El Dorado' tour," 21 June 2018 Her cryptic abstractions—fueled by a host of private, occult and religious sources—are intriguing, sometimes fascinating. Lance Esplund, WSJ, "‘Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future’ Review: Modernism’s Missing Link?," 13 Oct. 2018 That pattern is the same as the Black Sun, or Schwarze Sonne in German, which is still used today in some neo-Nazi occult circles. Elizabeth Schumacher, USA TODAY, "Shakira selling Nazi-like trinket for 'El Dorado' tour," 21 June 2018 Swedish occult-rock group Ghost just released its first album since a 2017 lawsuit in which four former bandmates accused frontman Tobias Forge of financial misconduct -- which made public Forge’s identity as the secretive group’s mastermind. Richard Bienstock, Billboard, "Ghost's Cardinal Copia On How the Plague and Bands Like Jefferson Starship Inspired New Album," 15 June 2018 Twelve years stranded on an island after being overthrown in a coup that was led by his brother, Prospero, the rightful duke of Milan, has been brooding over his grievances while developing his formidable occult powers. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "'The Tempest' at the Old Globe: Kate Burton casts a benevolent spell as Prospera," 26 June 2018 Like a coin toss that keeps coming up heads, iterated titles suggest an occult lucky streak bound to break. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, "The Politics and Play of Terrance Hayes," 24 June 2018 That clash between imagination and reality is what ultimately lures Parsons into the occult. Thomas Harlander, Los Angeles Magazine, "A Forgotten Pasadena Rocket Scientist and Occultist Inspired a New TV Show," 13 June 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1888, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for occult


in part back-formation from occultation, in part continuing Middle English occulten "to keep secret, conceal," borrowed from Latin occultāre "to prevent from being seen, conceal, keep secret," frequentative derivative of occulere "to hide from view, conceal" — more at occult entry 2


borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin occultus "hidden from sight, secret, esoteric," from past participle of occulere "to hide from view, conceal," from oc-, assimilated variant of ob- ob- + -culere, from a verb base *cel- "hide," going back to Indo-European *ḱel- "cover, conceal" — more at conceal


noun derivative of occult entry 2

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Statistics for occult

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for occult

The first known use of occult was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for occult



English Language Learners Definition of occult

: of or relating to supernatural powers or practices


oc·​cult | \ ə-ˈkəlt, ˈäk-ˌəlt \

Medical Definition of occult

: not manifest or detectable by clinical methods alone occult carcinoma also : not present in macroscopic amounts occult blood in a stool specimen fecal occult blood testing — compare gross sense 1b

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More from Merriam-Webster on occult

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with occult

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for occult

Spanish Central: Translation of occult

Nglish: Translation of occult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of occult for Arabic Speakers

Comments on occult

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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