Definition of Manichaean in US English:


(also Manichean)


  • 1Relating to Manichaeism.

    • ‘She denies any supernatural or Manichean force of evil.’
    • ‘The cardinal presented a strange, Manichean interpretation of twentieth-century history.’
    • ‘The script was used to write Manichaean literature in many different languages to spread its teachings.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1Philosophy Of or characterized by dualistic contrast or conflict between opposites.
      • ‘Impatience and Manichean thinking are among the burdens of youth politics, whether in Berkeley or Cairo.’
      • ‘And if good can come from evil, does this undermine a simplistic Manichean view of morality?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the movies, similar extravagance only fuels childish fantasies of omnipotence and Manichaean notions of how evil exists in the world.’


  • An adherent of Manichaeism.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Martin declares that he is a Manichaean, someone who believes that the material world is fundamentally evil.’
    • ‘Later Manicheans seem to distance themselves from Christianity - which would appear to agree with what Mani wrote.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In modern terms Manichaeans employed a very good marketing strategy in terms of promoting their religion.’