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 galleries devoted to religious work beg for a survey of syncretic spiritual imagery and the fluid lines between Christian and African religious representation. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2022 But the Virgin is also a syncretic figure, one who embodies Indigenous belief in female Aztec deities variously known as Tonantzin or Coatlicue. Carolina A. Mirandacolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 2 Apr. 2022 Once over his bewilderment, though, Dylan soon surpasses most historians in quickly building a syncretic sense of the whole. Sean Wilentz, The New York Review of Books, 19 June 2021 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, 1 Dec. 2020 Día de los Muertos is one of the great syncretic festivals of Latin America. Washington Post, 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, 21 Oct. 2020 Drawing on Native American, Buddhist and mindfulness traditions, her syncretic spiritual practice is fundamental to her work. The Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Sep. 2020 Drawing on Native American, Buddhist and mindfulness traditions, her syncretic spiritual practice is fundamental to her work. Ann Gleig, The Conversation, 14 Sep. 2020 See More

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.

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.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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