onei·​ric ō-ˈnī-rik How to pronounce oneiric (audio)
: of, relating to, or suggestive of dreams : dreamy
The frieze is the most arresting feature of the exterior, not only for its colors and the oneiric forms of the irises but for the way it encompasses the structure of the house.William Craft Brumfield
oneirically adverb

Did you know?

The notion of using the Greek noun oneiros (meaning "dream") to form the English adjective oneiric wasn't dreamed up until the mid-19th century. But back in the late 1500s and early 1600s, linguistic dreamers came up with a few oneiros spin-offs, giving English oneirocriticism, oneirocritical, and oneirocritic (each referring to dream interpreters or interpretation). The surge in oneiros derivatives at that time may have been fueled by the interest then among English-speaking scholars in Oneirocritica, a book about dream interpretation by 2nd-century Greek soothsayer Artemidorus Daldianus. In the 17th century, English speakers also melded Greek oneiros with the combining form ­-mancy ("divination") to create oneiromancy, meaning "divination by means of dreams."

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The poem operates by a kind of fairy logic: mesmerizing, oneiric, enchanted, with language that surprises and clauses that seem to magnetically adhere. Verity Spott Anne Boyer, New York Times, 13 Apr. 2023 Mixing scathing social realism and oneiric lyricism, Baumeister’s first feature, a mother-daughter broken relationship story set at a garbage dump in Managua, Guatemala which swept San Sebastian’s Co-Production Forum (2019), before winning its WIP Latam (2021), a rare double. John Hopewell, Variety, 28 July 2022 The two women are traced in Kara Walker’s familiar, cartoonish line, which seems to combine in a single gesture the comic brevity of Charles Schulz, the polemical pamphleteering of William Hogarth, and the oneiric revelations of Francisco Goya and Otto Dix. Zadie Smith, The New York Review of Books, 27 Feb. 2020 But for Baumbach, part of the appeal of visualizing White Noise’s oneiric, suburban landscape was rooted in his own effusive memories of the decade during which it was written. Erik Morse, Vogue, 27 Dec. 2022 Fiction acquires the true, tangible qualities of a hallucination while reality becomes somehow an oneiric dimension. Vogue, 12 Sep. 2022

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

Word History


Greek oneiros dream; akin to Armenian anurǰ dream

First Known Use

1859, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of oneiric was in 1859


Dictionary Entries Near oneiric

Cite this Entry

“Oneiric.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Medical Definition


onei·​ric ō-ˈnī-rik How to pronounce oneiric (audio)
: of or relating to dreams
: of, relating to, or characterized by oneirism
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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