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

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, 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, 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, 1 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Whether or not Fox was really serious about the occult celebration, people have thoughts. Macaela Mackenzie, SELF, 13 Jan. 2022 Mexico City is home to multiple markets, but Mercado de Sonara is one of the few that sells occult products alongside pinatas, home goods, and fresh cactus. Megan Wood, Travel + Leisure, 9 Jan. 2022 Their baby, Jericho, has been returned to them, and unnerving occult figures like Uncle George (Boris McGiver) and Aunt Josephine (Barbara Sukowa) have been repelled. Christian Holub, EW.com, 13 Dec. 2021 In the official Scientology literature, it is claimed that Hubbard was assigned by naval intelligence to infiltrate Parsons’s occult group. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 In this story, an occult Satanic cabal has corrupted the world, and only a strong Christian leader can take back the kingdom of heaven by any means necessary. Steven Monacelli, Rolling Stone, 1 Dec. 2021 The problem is knowing where, in all that occult neural shrubbery, to put them. Adam Rogers, Wired, 24 Nov. 2021 From the early Middle Ages through the eighteenth century, thinkers recorded their sense that profound, perhaps even occult, teachings were lurking there. The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2021 Nancy experiences a setback in the Frozen Hearts case, prompting her to ask Temperance for help with an occult approach; Ace experiences more trouble from the Bobbsey entanglement; George confronts a person from her past. Washington Post, 5 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun These flashes of the occult really could be manifestations of their pain, mental and physical. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 16 Jan. 2022 The source: the Morbid Anatomy Library, a collection devoted to oblivion and the occult—books, art, creatures suspended in various states of decay. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, 18 Dec. 2021 From the supernatural to the occult to the quintessential teen, here’s every 1981 slasher, ranked for your displeasure. Gem Seddon, Vulture, 29 Oct. 2021 But complications ensue when his wife begins an investigation of her own – one that focuses on the occult, and places her increasingly at odds with her husband. Matt Donnelly, Variety, 29 Oct. 2021 The Harry Smith Library acquisition includes an array of literature on every subject from music, art and folklore to astrology, the occult and religion, while the album collection covers an equally broad array of genres. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 16 Nov. 2021 Driven by an Oscar-worthy lead performance and shocking, graphic imagery, with a slow-burn descent into psychosis and the occult. Mark Hughes, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 We’re brought to the mansion of the fictional character Esther Phillips as fellow fans of the occult. Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2021 According to the biography, Marcia was interested in spiritualism and the occult, and the couple led a reclusive life. Christen Kelley, USA TODAY, 5 Oct. 2021

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Occult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occult. Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on occult

Nglish: Translation of occult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of occult for Arabic Speakers


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