What does obscurantism mean?

Definitions for obscurantisməbˈskyʊər ənˌtɪz əm, ˌɒb skyʊˈræn tɪz əm

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word obscurantism.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. obscurantism(noun)

    a policy of opposition to enlightenment or the spread of knowledge

  2. obscurantism(noun)

    a deliberate act intended to make something obscure


  1. obscurantism(Noun)

    A state of opposition to human progress or enlightenment.

  2. obscurantism(Noun)

    Being deliberately obscure or vague.

  3. Origin: From obscurans, present participle of obscuro + -ism

Webster Dictionary

  1. Obscurantism(noun)

    the system or the principles of the obscurants


  1. Obscurantism

    Obscurantism is the practice of deliberately preventing the facts or the full details of some matter from becoming known. There are two common historical and intellectual denotations to Obscurantism: deliberately restricting knowledge—opposition to the spread of knowledge, a policy of withholding knowledge from the public; and, deliberate obscurity—an abstruse style characterized by deliberate vagueness. The term obscurantism derives from the title of the 16th-century satire Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum, based upon the intellectual dispute between the German humanist Johann Reuchlin and Dominican monks, such as Johannes Pfefferkorn, about whether or not all Jewish books should be burned as un–Christian. Earlier, in 1509, the monk Pfefferkorn had obtained permission from Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor, to incinerate all copies of the Talmud known to be in the Holy Roman Empire; the Letters of Obscure Men satirized the Dominican monks' arguments at burning "un–Christian" works. In the 18th century, Enlightenment philosophers used the term "obscurantism" to denote the enemies of the Enlightenment, and its concept of the liberal diffusion of knowledge. Moreover, in the 19th century, in distinguishing the varieties of obscurantism found in metaphysics and theology from the "more subtle" obscurantism of the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and of modern philosophical skepticism, Friedrich Nietzsche said: "The essential element in the black art of obscurantism is not that it wants to darken individual understanding, but that it wants to blacken our picture of the world, and darken our idea of existence."


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of obscurantism in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of obscurantism in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Images & Illustrations of obscurantism

  1. obscurantism

Translations for obscurantism

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for obscurantism »


Find a translation for the obscurantism definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these obscurantism definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"obscurantism." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 24 Mar. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/obscurantism>.

Are we missing a good definition for obscurantism? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for obscurantism:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.