oc·​cult | \ ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) , ä- \
occulted; occulting; occults

Definition of occult

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

: to shut off from view or exposure : cover, eclipse the light of a star that was about to be occulted … by Uranus itself— Jonathan Eberhart


oc·​cult | \ ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) , ä-; ˈä-ˌkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) \

Definition of occult (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : not revealed : secret deep subterranean occult jealousy— J. C. Powys
2 : not easily apprehended or understood : abstruse, mysterious occult matters like nuclear physics, radiation effects and the designing of rockets— Robert Bendiner
3 : hidden from view : concealed occult underground passages
4 : of or relating to the occult … the occult arts—astrology, palmistry, card reading …— Amy Fine Collins occult practices
5 : not manifest or detectable by clinical methods alone occult carcinoma also : not present in macroscopic amounts occult blood in a stool


\ ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) , ä-; ˈä-ˌkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) \

Definition of occult (Entry 3 of 3)

: matters regarded as involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers or some secret knowledge of them used with the

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Other Words from occult


occulter noun


occultly adverb

Examples of occult in a Sentence

Verb occulted their house from prying eyes by planting large trees around it the actor's private life had long been occulted by a contrived public persona Adjective occult practices such as magic and fortune-telling He began to believe he had occult powers.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb During a full transit, which would last a few minutes, an Earth-size planet would occult the entire white dwarf. Avi Loeb, Scientific American, 30 Oct. 2020 In July, 2017, the object occulted a star, and telescopes observed its tiny shadow passing across the star. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 7 Nov. 2017 And for some lucky sky-watchers in eastern Brazil and in central and southern Africa, the moon will occult the star. National Geographic, 1 May 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After Crowley moves on to more Cabaret-era debauchery, Pessoa is left feeling more at peace about his celibacy and freer than ever to indulge in his occult investigations and spiritualist theories. Damion Searls, The New Republic, 14 Sep. 2021 Crystals, sage, sacred herbs, incantations -- the material aspects of the occult appeal to one's senses. Neelam Bohra And Aj Willingham, CNN, 19 Aug. 2021 Perhaps more rewarding in the end as straight, downbeat period drama than as an occult thriller, it was acquired by genre platform Shudder just before world premiering at Fantasia, with a multinational streaming launch planned for early next year. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 29 Aug. 2021 Healing crystals and occult imagery have become popular home decorations and luxury status symbols. Neelam Bohra And Aj Willingham, CNN, 19 Aug. 2021 Twice in recent months, I’ve been gripped by the almost occult power of early Glass. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 Eyewitness reports are subject to considerable embroidery over time, and strings of improbable coincidences can easily be rendered into an occult pattern by a human mind prone to misapprehension and eager for meaning. The New Yorker, 10 Aug. 2021 Von Vampton is unmasked as a Knight Templar of the Crusades, whose theft of occult secrets from the Holy Land echoes his exploitative Negrophilia. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 19 July 2021 Misael recalled that prayer sessions with Flordelis were tinged with occult practices. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 7 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun According to the biography, Marcia was interested in spiritualism and the occult, and the couple led a reclusive life. Christen Kelley, USA TODAY, 5 Oct. 2021 Divine the secrets of magick, freemason rituals and the paranormal through this long-running podcast series dedicated to the occult and arcane practices. CNN, 11 Aug. 2021 Jenna Coleman, already a veteran of storied nerd franchise Doctor Who, will play Lady Johanna Constantine, an 18th-century occult adventuress and ancestor of John Constantine. Christian Holub, EW.com, 26 May 2021 This is very much in the spirit of comics — both DC and Marvel — where Hitler’s interest in the occult has been a big storytelling boon. James Grebey, Vulture, 18 Mar. 2021 And then how does his story become this sort of conspiracy-laden psychosexual occult thriller? Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, 2 Mar. 2021 In 2013, Berkowitz told CBS News that, at the time of the shootings, he was obsessed with the occult and Satan. Shannon Carlin, refinery29.com, 11 May 2021 But what was once seen as new age, occult, and a product of 1970’s hippie culture, is now getting to be as mainstream as daily astrology. Tanya Akim, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2021 The program presented cult activity, if not the occult itself, in all but certain terms. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2021

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


15th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1888, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for occult


in part back-formation from occultation, in part continuing Middle English occulten "to keep secret, conceal," borrowed from Latin occultāre "to prevent from being seen, conceal, keep secret," frequentative derivative of occulere "to hide from view, conceal" — more at occult entry 2


borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin occultus "hidden from sight, secret, esoteric," from past participle of occulere "to hide from view, conceal," from oc-, assimilated variant of ob- ob- + -culere, from a verb base *cel- "hide," going back to Indo-European *ḱel- "cover, conceal" — more at conceal


noun derivative of occult entry 2

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Time Traveler for occult

Time Traveler

The first known use of occult was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Occult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/occult. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for occult



English Language Learners Definition of occult

: of or relating to supernatural powers or practices


oc·​cult | \ ə-ˈkəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) , ˈäk-ˌəlt How to pronounce occult (audio) \

Medical Definition of occult

: not manifest or detectable by clinical methods alone occult carcinoma also : not present in macroscopic amounts occult blood in a stool specimen fecal occult blood testing — compare gross sense 1b

More from Merriam-Webster on occult

Nglish: Translation of occult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of occult for Arabic Speakers


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