oc·cult (ə-kŭlt, ŏkŭlt′)
1. Of, relating to, or dealing with supernatural or magical influences, agencies, or occurrences: occult astrological powers.
2. Available only to the initiate; secret or mysterious: occult lore. See Synonyms at mysterious.
3. Beyond the realm of human comprehension; inscrutable: The causes of those phenomena remain occult.
4. Hidden from view; concealed: "Hatchlings and juveniles ... keep to this occult place through all the seasons" (David M. Carroll).
a. Medicine Detectable only by microscopic examination or chemical analysis, as a minute blood sample.
b. Not accompanied by readily detectable signs or symptoms: occult carcinoma.
Occult practices or techniques: a student of the occult.
v. (ə-kŭlt) oc·cult·ed, oc·cult·ing, oc·cults
1. To conceal or cause to disappear from view.
2. Astronomy To conceal by occultation: The moon occulted Mars.
To become concealed or extinguished at regular intervals: a lighthouse beacon that occults every 45 seconds.
[Latin occultus, secret, past participle of occulere, to cover over; see kel-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.