syncretic

adjective
syn·​cret·​ic | \ sin-ˈkre-tik How to pronounce syncretic (audio) , siŋ- \

Definition of syncretic

: characterized or brought about by syncretism : syncretistic a syncretic religion

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Syncretic has its roots in an ancient alliance. It's a descendant of the Greek word synkrētismos, meaning "federation of Cretan cities-syn- means "together," with, and Krēt- means "Cretan." The adjective first appeared in English in the mid-19th century, and the related noun "syncretism" debuted over 200 years earlier. "Syncretic" retains the idea of coalition and appears in such contexts as "syncretic religions," "syncretic societies," and even "syncretic music," all describing things influenced by two or more styles or traditions. The word also has a specific application in linguistics, where it refers to a fusion of grammatical forms.

Examples of syncretic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The presence of a medieval-era Mughal dome in the temple town of Ayodhya — considered the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram — was indicative of the subcontinent’s syncretic history and was no doubt for that reason an affront to Hindu nationalists. New York Times, "India’s Leading Documentary Filmmaker Has a Warning," 1 Dec. 2020 Día de los Muertos is one of the great syncretic festivals of Latin America. Washington Post, "This year, I need my ancestors more than ever. I’m baking pan de muerto to call them forth.," 26 Oct. 2020 Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak in the early 16th century and is a syncretic religion comprising aspects of Hinduism and Sufi Islam. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "‘Royals and Rebels’ Review: A Success Story, While It Lasted," 21 Oct. 2020 Drawing on Native American, Buddhist and mindfulness traditions, her syncretic spiritual practice is fundamental to her work. The Salt Lake Tribune, "The Conversation: Far from being anti-religious, faith and spirituality run deep in Black Lives Matter," 14 Sep. 2020 Drawing on Native American, Buddhist and mindfulness traditions, her syncretic spiritual practice is fundamental to her work. Ann Gleig, The Conversation, "Far from being anti-religious, faith and spirituality run deep in Black Lives Matter," 14 Sep. 2020 Possessed of a daringly syncretic musical intelligence, Rosalía has inhaled flamenco. James Parker, The Atlantic, "How Flamenco Went Pop," 21 Dec. 2019 Manfred Eicher, who founded ECM and remains its sole proprietor, has forged a syncretic vision in which jazz and classical traditions intelligently intermingle. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Pristine Empire of ECM Records," 25 Nov. 2019 Although Pastor John’s stories and songs seem strange or syncretic, the community of Soulsville responds with enthusiasm. David Wallace, The New Yorker, "Tiphanie Yanique on the Necessity of the Spirit," 28 Oct. 2019

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

1840, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of syncretic was in 1840

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Cite this Entry

“Syncretic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/syncretic. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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