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esoteric (adj) meant for and understood by a special group of people.

If a group of people want something to be special for themselves and to be used only by themselves, and therefore keep it a secret, it is esoteric. Esoteric knowledge is knowledge meant for and understood only by a group of people. For example, in ancient India, the knowledge of the sacred books, the Vedas, was confined to one social group. They were meant for and understood by this one group, and so the knowledge of the Vedas, in ancient India at least, was esoteric.

  • The knowledge of the sciences and the arts should never be made esoteric. It should be open to all so that the society may progress, with every one having access to the knowledge.
  • Charms, spells, at least to those who believe in them, are esoteric, as those practicing them feel that it should be known only to them, and that if people at large know them, the power of the charms etc., may be lost.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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