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exoteric (ek-so-TER-ik) adjective

1. Not limited to an inner circle of select people.

2. Suitable for the general public.

3. Relating to the outside; external.

[From Latin exotericus, from Greek exoterikos (external), from exotero, comparative form of exo (outside).]

"In crude terms, some critics of Strauss argue that he interpreted the ancient philosophers as offering two different teachings, an esoteric one which is available only to those who read the ancient texts closely, and an exoteric one accessible to naive readers. The exoteric interpretations were aimed at the mass of people, the vulgar, while the esoteric teachings - the hidden meanings - were vouch-safed to the few, the philosophers." Ronald Bailey, Origin of the Specious: Why Do Neoconservatives Doubt Darwin?, Reason magazine (Los Angeles), Jul 1, 1997.

"In their different ways and obviously to a varying degree these two publications should appeal to those who are alienated by exoteric Judaism stripped of its mystical elements. Ronald Isaacs begins by noting that there is no biblical Hebrew word for miracle." Jonathan Galante, Mysticism for the Masses, Jerusalem Post, Aug 27, 1999.

This week's theme: relatively lesser-known antonyms of everyday words.


To see a world in a grain of sand, / And a heaven in a wild flower, / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, / And eternity in an hour. -William Blake, poet, engraver, and painter (1757-1827)

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