Definition of syncretism in English:



mass noun
  • 1The amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.

    ‘interfaith dialogue can easily slip into syncretism’
    • ‘The prevailing assumption in this use of syncretism is that world religions have been incorporated by Javanese into local versions that are somehow less authentic and more related to customary practice than religion.’
    • ‘McNally's discussion of how non-Indian and Ojibwe missionaries worked to translate English-language hymns into Ojibwe is a perfect example of religious syncretism.’
    • ‘The marriage prohibition consequently played into the concern over intermarriage as a source of religious syncretism and idolatry.’
    • ‘Speaking of which, in terms of religious syncretism it is interesting to see how frequently quantum uncertainty is starting to pop up in discussions about religion.’
    • ‘In these concluding remarks, I shall return to the various issues concerning religious syncretism, which introduced this article.’
    • ‘While often viewed as uniformly Pagan, there has been an increase in the diversity, expression, and syncretism of religious belief systems.’
    • ‘In addition, there is often a layer of syncretism between Buddhism and animism.’
    • ‘Three religious responses are discerned: fundamentalism, syncretism, and ecumenism.’
    • ‘Concomitantly, there has been a shift from religion to spiritualisms manifested in a trend toward syncretism and the simultaneous identification with different traditions.’
    • ‘My sense is that one's attitude to syncretism depends largely on how one understands the dynamics of religion and human religiosity.’
    • ‘Religious syncretism is manifest in almost every aspect of the majority of Javanese rites.’
    • ‘Inculturation always runs the risk of syncretism, in all cultures without exception.’
    • ‘Embodied in the idea of religious syncretism is a continuous unfolding of two main concomitant processes: spiritual and emotional synchronicity.’
    • ‘I should also mention that I loathe religious syncretism in all its forms.’
    • ‘But how does one avoid falling into a vague religious syncretism made up of different expressions of religion?’
    • ‘Candomble is often presented in the literature as a religion born of syncretism between Catholicism and the Yoruba gods and liturgies of West Africa.’
    • ‘The result is a limited understanding of basic biblical truths, leading to corrupted theology, syncretism and shallow commitment.’
    • ‘If multiculturalism means syncretism, then religious conservatives of all faiths will certainly opt out.’
    • ‘The mural represents the Spanish conquest of Mexico and the religious syncretism there.’
    • ‘I am hard at work over here researching religious syncretism for an article that I want to write, and it has lead me on quite a wild goose chase around the internet.’
  • 2Linguistics
    The merging of different inflectional varieties of a word during the development of a language.

    • ‘In the current literature, instances of syncretism are being increasingly cited to support particular models of morphology and feature structure.’
    • ‘This is not the final word on problems with syncretism; there are many more that I don't have the space or the insight to point out here.’
    • ‘For each language all instances of syncretism are recorded.’
    • ‘A good framework for morphology would cover the whole territory, rather than carving out one small portion of the territory for a special Missing Form treatment, admitting syncretism everywhere else.’


Early 17th century: from modern Latin syncretismus, from Greek sunkrētismos, from sunkrētizein ‘unite against a third party’, from sun- ‘together’ + krēs ‘Cretan’ (originally with reference to ancient Cretan communities).