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or kab·ba·la or ka·ba·la also ca·ba·la or qa·ba·la or qa·ba·lah  (kăb′ə-lə, kə-bä′lə)
1. often Kabbalah A body of mystical teachings of rabbinical origin, often based on an esoteric interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures.
2. A secret doctrine resembling these teachings.

[Medieval Latin cabala, from Hebrew qabbālâ, received doctrine, tradition, from qibbēl, to receive; see qbl in Semitic roots.]

kab′ba·lism n.
kab′ba·list n.
Usage Note: There are no less than two dozen variant spellings of kabbalah, the most common of which include kabbalah, kabala, kabalah, qabalah, qabala, cabala, cabbala, kaballah, kabbala, kaballah, and qabbalah. This sort of confusion is frequently seen with Hebrew and Arabic words borrowed into English because there exist several different systems of romanizing the Hebrew and Arabic alphabets. Often a more exact or scholarly transliteration, such as Qur'an, will coexist alongside a spelling that has been heavily Anglicized (Koran). The fact that the Hebrew and Arabic alphabets do not as a rule indicate short vowels or the doubling of consonants compounds the difficulties. Spellings of kabbalah with one or two b's are equally "correct," insofar as the single b accurately reproduces the spelling of the Hebrew, while the double b represents that it was once pronounced with a double b.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(kəˈbɑːlə) ,










1. (Judaism) an ancient Jewish mystical tradition based on an esoteric interpretation of the Old Testament
2. any secret or occult doctrine or science
[C16: from Medieval Latin, from Hebrew qabbālāh tradition, what is received, from qābal to receive]
kabbalism, kabalism, cabbalism, cabalism, qabalism n
ˈkabbalist, ˈkabalist, ˈcabbalist, ˈcabalist, ˈqabalist n
ˌkabbaˈlistic, ˌkabaˈlistic, ˌcabbaˈlistic, ˌcabaˈlistic, ˌqabaˈlistic adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.kabbalah - an esoteric or occult matter resembling the Kabbalah that is traditionally secret
arcanum, secret - information known only to a special group; "the secret of Cajun cooking"
2.Kabbalah - an esoteric theosophy of rabbinical origin based on the Hebrew scriptures and developed between the 7th and 18th centuries
theosophy - a system of belief based on mystical insight into the nature of God and the soul
Judaism - the monotheistic religion of the Jews having its spiritual and ethical principles embodied chiefly in the Torah and in the Talmud
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
While a true Cabbalist interpretation seeks no finality, allowing for a permanent open-endedness to other interpretations and new meanings, it is based on a belief in the essential transcendence of sacred texts.
O'Callaghan gives us a clear idea of Reuchlin and his study of the law, Reuchlin and a search for salvation, the unfolding of the Reuchlin affair and the ramifications of it going public, Reuchlin as a Cabbalist, Reuchlin as an intellectual of his time, and the Reuchlin affair as a debate without end.
For example, Nahmanides, a thirteenth-century Catalan cabbalist, asserts that the universe expanded from the moment of its creation, when it was the size of a mustard seed.
Esther suffered demonic possession in her early married life, but eventually was able to heal herself, with the support of Shimon Bar-Yohai, a sage from the second century, reputedly a great Cabbalist and the author of the Zohar.
Beckmann wrote, "I am seeking the bridge that leads from the visible to the invisible, like the famous cabbalist who once said: 'If you wish to get hold of the invisible you must penetrate as deeply as possible into the visible.'" (38) In a time when many painters moved to abstraction, Beckmann remained committed to the visible world.
It runs the gamut from Antonio Damasio's best-selling Looking for Spinoza (2003), celebrating Spinoza for anticipating modern biology's take on "the mind-body problem," to numerous reconstructions of Spinoza's Jewish roots in medieval philosophy, cabbalist mysticism, or "Marrano theology." (9) Spinoza's allure has long been noteworthy for American Jewish intellectuals.