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a. Intended for or understood by only a small group, especially one with specialized knowledge or interests: an esoteric philosophical doctrine. See Synonyms at mysterious.
b. Relating to or being a small group with specialized knowledge or interests: an esoteric circle.
2. Not known by or suitable for the public; private: Few understood the celebrity's esoteric side.
1. One that is esoteric.
2. esoterics Esoteric matters; esoterica: "The course ... is anything but an exercise in ivory tower esoterics" (Sharon Waxman).

[Greek esōterikos, from esōterō, comparative of esō, within; see en in Indo-European roots.]

es′o·ter′i·cal·ly adv.
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.
References in periodicals archive ?
"I was really moved to see people go back to people in their communities and say, 'Hey, we're not just talking esoterically. The people we're talking about building up are sitting across the table from us.
A Straussian does not necessarily count herself as among the privileged few who write esoterically, who transcend the law, and so on.
Rightly so, the problems of national identity and religion have been perennial in our national history because some viciously egoistic mortals have dedicated their life, resources, and patrimony to polarizing Nigerians with those primitive narratives, simply to perpetuate evil and individually or esoterically aggregate our commonwealth.
More esoterically, a person might control an entity by purchasing derivative contracts for the entity's shares from derivative dealers or banks.
Its costume designer, Ane Crabtree, speaks as esoterically as any fashion week designer about her inspirations: the deep red of the handmaids and the teal of the commanders' wives were based on a photograph of a maple leaf against a blue sky; the moss green worn by the other housemaids was inspired by "an old mop" .
Fourteen years compressed into two heavily-revised paragraphs." A few pages later, after informing his characters that they are, in fact, fictional, Pappalardo describes Cowboy's reaction as "a dark and serious look, the dead-eyed stare of a Richard Scarry cat piloting a tugboat." Such references are fresh, if esoterically resonant.
The significant group of scholars that reads Locke as religiously surreptitious see this inconsistency as evidence that Locke appeals to the Bible (exoterically) while simultaneously trying to undercut its authority (esoterically).
Maybe if he spent a bit more time among "us" rather than just thinking esoterically about our lives, maybe he would understand "us" just a bit more.
I felt similar yearnings for the concrete in Nathalie Rivere de Carles's essay on curtains, tapestries, and other hangings, which takes a more esoterically theorized stand on the way fabric exists between fixity and motion, prop and costume, concealment and revealing, embodying various kinds of liminality and flux, particularly in temporal terms.
This consists of the tension between the drive to revise particularly harmful or limited mythic historical formations, on the one hand, and on the other the Africana cultural tradition of concealment --through secret names, rituals, and stories (including histories that remain esoterically secret).
By focusing not on what Strauss "really," that is, "esoterically," believed, but on what he "actually," that is, "exoterially," wrote, Walsh ignores the fact that Strauss himself consistently speaks of "exoteric writing," implying that both the "deeper" and the more "superficial" meaning of a text are to be found in the lines.