the·​os·​o·​phy | \ thē-ˈä-sə-fē How to pronounce theosophy (audio) \

Definition of theosophy

1 : teaching about God and the world based on mystical insight
2 often capitalized : the teachings of a modern movement originating in the U.S. in 1875 and following chiefly Buddhist and Brahmanic theories especially of pantheistic evolution and reincarnation

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from theosophy

theosophical \ ˌthē-​ə-​ˈsä-​fi-​kəl How to pronounce theosophy (audio) \ adjective
theosophically \ ˌthē-​ə-​ˈsä-​fi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce theosophy (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?

The word theosophy, combining roots meaning "God" and "wisdom", appeared back in the 17th century, but the well-known religious movement by that name, under the leadership of the Russian Helena Blavatsky, appeared only around 1875. Blavatsky's theosophy combined elements of Plato's philosophy with Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu thought (including reincarnation), in a way that she claimed had been divinely revealed to her. The Theosophical Society, founded in 1875 to promote her beliefs, still exists, as does the Anthroposophical Society, founded by her follower Rudolf Steiner.

Examples of theosophy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And like af Klint, Pelton rooted her work in her practice of theosophy — the belief in a deeper spiritual reality that can be accessed through heightened awareness — and used color, abstract forms and symbols to convey the sublime. New York Times, "The T List: Five Things We Recommend This Week," 12 Mar. 2020 In Europe the tenets of Buddhism, theosophy, and anthroposophy were in vogue, and many other artists of the period — including Kandinsky and Malevich — explored a spiritual basis for their art. Andrew Ferren, New York Times, "In Search of Hilma af Klint, Who Upended Art History, But Left Few Traces," 21 Oct. 2019 Bloom began to explore theosophy, Vedanta (one of the main branches of Hindu philosophy) and other forms of spiritualism. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "Artist Hyman Bloom’s body of work is revered. And the bodies are cadavers.," 31 July 2019 The only one that’s local to Sweden would be the anthroposophical movement and Rudolf Steiner, and theosophy and stuff. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Ari Aster on his new film Midsommar: “I keep telling people I want it to be confusing”," 2 July 2019 This may have been the nerdiest moment in American politics since Henry Wallace wandered into theosophy. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "We Were Close to a Eureka Moment During James Comey's Testimony," 8 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'theosophy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of theosophy

1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for theosophy

Medieval Latin theosophia, from Late Greek, from Greek the- + sophia wisdom — more at -sophy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about theosophy

Time Traveler for theosophy

Time Traveler

The first known use of theosophy was in 1650

See more words from the same year

Statistics for theosophy

Cite this Entry

“Theosophy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on theosophy Encyclopedia article about theosophy

Comments on theosophy

What made you want to look up theosophy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!