Definition: Mysticism

From New World Encyclopedia


From mystic + -ism, from Old French mistique (mysterious, full of mystery), from Latin mysticus (mystical, mystic, of secret rites), from Ancient Greek μυστικός or mustikós (secret, mystic), from μύστης or mústēs (one who has been initiated, initiate) from μῡ́ω or mū́ō (to close one's lips or eyes; initiate into the mysteries). Compare Asturian misticismu, Catalan misticisme, French mysticisme, German Mystizismus, Italian misticismo, Portuguese misticismo, Sicilian misticisimu, Spanish misticismo.


mysticism (countable and uncountable, plural mysticisms)

  1. The beliefs, ideas, or thoughts of mystics.
  2. A doctrine of direct communication or spiritual intuition of divine truth.
  3. A transcendental union of soul or mind with the divine reality or divinity.
  4. Obscure thoughts and speculations.


New World Encyclopedia writers and editors copied and adjusted this Wiktionary entry in accordance with NWE standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 License (CC-by-sa), which may be used and disseminated with proper attribution. Credit for this article is due to both New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. To cite this article click here for a list acceptable citing formats.The history of earlier contributions at Wiktionary is accessible to researchers here: