obscurantism

noun
ob·​scu·​ran·​tism | \ äb-ˈskyu̇r-ən-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce obscurantism (audio) , əb-; ˌäb-skyu̇-ˈran- \

Definition of obscurantism

1 : opposition to the spread of knowledge : a policy of withholding knowledge from the general public
2a : a style (as in literature or art) characterized by deliberate vagueness or abstruseness
b : an act or instance of obscurantism

Other Words from obscurantism

obscurantist \ äb-​ˈskyu̇r-​ən-​tist How to pronounce obscurantism (audio) , əb-​ ; ˌäb-​skyu̇-​ˈran-​tist \ noun or adjective

Examples of obscurantism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web More troubling still, universities can get away with obscurantism and enforced ideological conformism because of their enormous power over labor markets. Joel Kotkin, National Review, 29 Mar. 2022 The history of its practice in Jerusalem presents a parade of eccentrics and fanatics, enlivened by obscurantism and riot. Dominic Green, WSJ, 17 Dec. 2021 Imbued with a sense of grandeur, France harks back to the Enlightenment to speak about fighting obscurantism in the world today and proffers its secular universalism as a model for modern societies. BostonGlobe.com, 23 Sep. 2021 Imbued with a sense of grandeur, France harks back to the Enlightenment to speak about fighting obscurantism in the world today and proffers its secular universalism as a model for modern societies. New York Times, 23 Sep. 2021 Your homework assignment: Look up this exciting word — obscurantism. Gary Gilson, Star Tribune, 26 Dec. 2020 The obscurantism isn’t confined to talking heads and detached national politicians, either. Tobias Hoonhout, National Review, 3 Sep. 2020 Peters seemed to others to be a genius at two things: mimicking the verbal pretentiousness and obscurantism of academic parlance and sweeping naïve young women off their feet by means of an alchemy that remained mysterious to everyone else. New York Times, 14 Feb. 2020 Some early reviewers of The Second Sleep, which was published in the U.K. at the start of September, gave the impression that Harris had issued a rather straightforward warning against the threat of religious obscurantism and fanaticism. John Wilson, National Review, 5 Dec. 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of obscurantism

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for obscurantism

borrowed from German Obscurantismus or French obscurantisme, from Latin obscūrant-, obscūrans, present participle of obscūrāre "to darken, eclipse, conceal from knowledge" + German -ismus, French -isme -ism — more at obscure entry 2

Learn More About obscurantism

Time Traveler for obscurantism

Time Traveler

The first known use of obscurantism was in 1834

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near obscurantism

obscurant

obscurantism

obscurative

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for obscurantism

Last Updated

30 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obscurantism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obscurantism. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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