One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Usually in plural, with the. A person who has attained knowledge of the secrets of alchemy, magic, and the occult, (now especially) an initiate into the secrets of a particular hermetic order or occult organization.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Thomas Vaughan (1621–1666), hermetic philosopher and alchemist. From post-classical Latin adeptus person who has attained knowledge of the secrets of alchemy, use as noun of classical Latin adeptus.
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