Definition of Manichaean in English:


(also Manichean)


  • 1Relating to Manichaeism.

    • ‘Members of the Manichaean movement were divided into the ‘chosen’ and their lay supporters.’
    • ‘However, haunted not only by his Manichean past but, soon, by Pelagian boasts of human moral competence, Augustine was never able to shake his anxieties about freedom.’
    • ‘She denies any supernatural or Manichean force of evil.’
    • ‘The script was used to write Manichaean literature in many different languages to spread its teachings.’
    • ‘The cardinal presented a strange, Manichean interpretation of twentieth-century history.’
    1. 1.1Of or characterized by dualistic contrast or conflict between opposites.
      • ‘And if good can come from evil, does this undermine a simplistic Manichean view of morality?’
      • ‘In the movies, similar extravagance only fuels childish fantasies of omnipotence and Manichaean notions of how evil exists in the world.’
      • ‘Impatience and Manichean thinking are among the burdens of youth politics, whether in Berkeley or Cairo.’
      • ‘Both men felt an early attraction to religious faith, a Manichaean inner conflict between flesh and spirit, a difficulty with responsibility and commitment, and a genius for humor and satire.’
      • ‘This worldview has bifurcated worldly politics into a transcendently significant battle that has a Manichean logic of absolute good and utter evil.’


  • An adherent of Manichaeism.

    • ‘Later Manicheans seem to distance themselves from Christianity - which would appear to agree with what Mani wrote.’
    • ‘Martin declares that he is a Manichaean, someone who believes that the material world is fundamentally evil.’
    • ‘In modern terms Manichaeans employed a very good marketing strategy in terms of promoting their religion.’
    • ‘A Manichean who believes the world is essentially evil will draw radically different moral lessons than a pantheist who finds God present everywhere in his creation.’
    • ‘Augustine was particularly sensitive to this need, because for many years as a young man he was a Manichean and hence denied the authenticity and relevance of the Old Testament for salvation.’