Printable Version
Pronunciation: ê-kêlt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, adjective, verb

Meaning: 1. (Noun, usually preceded by the) Dealings with supernatural powers, especially devil worship. 2. (Adjective) Secret, mysterious, dealing with the occult via palmistry, alchemy, astrology, and crystal balls, as 'the occult arts'. 3. (Adjective) Hidden, undetectable, concealed, as 'occult underground tunnels'. 4. (Verb) To cover up or over, conceal, as, "The moon occults the sun during an eclipse."

Notes: The belief in or practice of the occult is known as occultism, and someone who imbibes in occultism we call an occultist. The adjective is occultic. Since today's word is also an adjective, the adverb is occultly. Since it can be verb as well, it has an action noun, occultation, meaning "concealment".

In Play: Here is how we hear occult in its noun usage: "The genesis of science may be traced back to the occult and occult experimentation." As an adjective we see and hear it in expressions like this: "If God created the laws of the universe, then they are occult by their nature." Finally, the verb pokes its head up in sentences like this: "Benny tried to occult the damage he had done to the car with insistent denial."

Word History: Today's Good Word came from Latin occultus "concealed, secret" via French occulte. The Latin word comprises an assimilated form of ob "over" + cel-are "to cover, conceal". Ob is how PIE epi/opi "near, at, by" emerged in Latin. It arose in Greek as epi "on(to)", in Lithuanian and Latvian as ap- "around, about", and Russian o(b) "around, about". Celare (where C = [k]) descended from PIE kel'- "to cover, conceal", source also of Sanskrit sarana "umbrella, shelter", Latin cella "small room" and cilium "eyelid", Greek kalia "hut, cottage", Welsh celu "to hide", English hull, Hell, and hold (of a ship), German Hülle "coat, hull, cocoon", Dutch huls "hull, case, sleeve", and Gujarati hala "hull, husk".

Dr. Goodword,

P.S. - Register for the Daily Good Word E-Mail! - You can get our daily Good Word sent directly to you via e-mail in either HTML or Text format. Go to our Registration Page to sign up today!