(redirected from Hierophancy)


 (hī′ər-ə-fănt′, hī′rə-, hī-ĕr′ə-fənt)
1. An ancient Greek priest who interpreted sacred mysteries, especially the priest of the Eleusinian mysteries.
2. An interpreter of sacred mysteries or arcane knowledge.
3. One who explains or makes a commentary.

[Late Latin hierophanta, from Greek hierophantēs : hieros, holy; see eis- in Indo-European roots + -phantēs, one who shows (from phainein, phan-, to show; see bhā- in Indo-European roots).]

hi′er·o·phan′tic adj.


1. (Historical Terms) (in ancient Greece) an official high priest of religious mysteries, esp those of Eleusis
2. a person who interprets and explains esoteric mysteries
[C17: from Late Latin hierophanta, from Greek hierophantēs, from hiero- + phainein to reveal]
ˌhieroˈphantic adj
ˌhieroˈphantically adv


(ˈhaɪ ər əˌfænt, ˈhaɪ rə-, haɪˈɛr ə fənt)

1. (in the ancient world) the chief priest of a mystery cult, esp. of the Eleusinian mysteries.
2. any interpreter of sacred mysteries or esoteric principles; mystagogue.
[1670–80; < Late Latin hierophanta < Greek hierophántēs=hiero- hiero- + -phántēs, derivative of phaínein to show, make known]
hi`er•o•phan′tic, adj.
hi`er•o•phan′ti•cal•ly, adv.
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The pleasure Wordsworth took in his own feelings and volitions, Coleridge's supping on the milk of paradise, Shelley's hierophancy of the fading coal, Keats's squirmy erotic dissolves, that being-more-intense which Byron tasted in creativity--and, epitomizing all these, Blake's pulsation of the artery in which the poet's work is done--what these Romantic passages had in common Victorian spasmody enlarged upon, and inevitably vulgarized.