oc·​cult | \ ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) , 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 How to pronounce occult (audio) , ä-; ˈä-ˌkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) \

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 How to pronounce occult (audio) , ä-; ˈä-ˌkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) \

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

Verb 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 Adjective 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 During a full transit, which would last a few minutes, an Earth-size planet would occult the entire white dwarf. Avi Loeb, Scientific American, "Living near a White Dwarf," 30 Oct. 2020 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: Adjective The discovery of a document detailing the occult activities of an old abbess suddenly launches us on a grail quest. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, "How Leonora Carrington Feminized Surrealism," 21 Dec. 2020 Within seconds of a fake news article being posted—such as one claiming the Clinton campaign was involved in occult rituals—it would be tweeted by many bots, and humans, beguiled by the apparent popularity of the content, would retweet it. Filippo Menczer, Scientific American, "Information Overload Helps Fake News Spread, and Social Media Knows It," 20 Nov. 2020 The coronavirus pandemic has destroyed many businesses, including Curioporium, the Hartford shop full of occult artifacts and oddities. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "Hartford occult shop to be turned into supernatural attraction THIS STORY IS EMBARGOED UNTIL 8:30 P.M. ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT," 1 Nov. 2020 When doctors prove useless, Reverend Gwyon invokes occult powers to save his son. Christopher Beha, Harper's Magazine, "Because God Did Not Relax," 27 Oct. 2020 Sun Ra was born Herman Poole Blount in 1914, and named for the Southern mystic and performer Black Herman, whose occult stage show had thrilled Blount’s mother. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, "Earth Couldn’t Contain Sun Ra’s Ideas. His Arkestra Is Still Exploring Them.," 27 Oct. 2020 Pop culture has featured violent representations of transgender people for decades, in pulp novels, occult paperbacks, horror movies and television drama. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Books and movies keep creating transgender aggressors. But trans people are far more likely to be victims of violence," 25 Sep. 2020 Alternative healing modalities, such as somatic therapy or reiki, may be of particular interest to you today, as well as paranormal, psychic, or occult practices. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, "Daily horoscope for September 20, 2020," 20 Sep. 2020 For $500, that bought a month’s worth of mentoring on various crafts and occult practice. Eileen Kelley, sun-sentinel.com, "How a suspected kidnapper became a witch in prison," 27 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The democratization of the arcane is a welcome development, but the mystery of the occult will never lose its allure. Steffie Nelson, Los Angeles Times, "A new ‘Library of Esoterica’ brings the occult to your coffee table," 15 Dec. 2020 By the 1920s and ’30s, occult and paranormal sleuths were flourishing. Washington Post, "Long before ‘Ghostbusters,’ fiction’s detectives were exploring the otherworldly," 9 Dec. 2020 Any or all would make an inspiring gift — whether for a moody kindergartner or a friend interested in dabbling in the occult. New York Times, "The T List: Holiday Gift Guide, Part II," 2 Dec. 2020 The cards have a lovely touch of the occult about them, as if a fortune-teller were pointing up secret connections. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Two Thriving String Quartets," 10 Nov. 2020 Below are 10 fantastic tracks about the occult and/or The Devil. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "Hell yeah: 10 great songs about Satan and the occult," 29 Oct. 2020 At least, unlike Mrs. Reagan, Melania doesn’t practice the occult in the White House. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Disdain Is a Small Price," 30 Sep. 2020 The Craft, starring Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, and Rachel True as four high school witches who use the occult to strengthen their friendship and seek revenge on bullies and boys. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Craft Is Getting Rebooted, and the Trailer Looks So Spooky," 29 Sep. 2020 The other protagonist is his sister, Satana (Ana in the TV adaptation), who embraces the occult and her paternal heritage while Daimon chooses to defend humanity. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Two demon-hunting siblings reunite to save the world in Helstrom trailer," 23 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for occult

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for occult

Cite this Entry

“Occult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occult. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for occult


How to pronounce occult (audio) How to pronounce occult (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of occult

: of or relating to supernatural powers or practices


oc·​cult | \ ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) , ˈäk-ˌəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) \

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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