The word hermeneutic is used to describe something that is interpretive or explanatory. Want to learn about the history of Irish theater? Try a hermeneutic approach to studying the tradition — it will explain main genres, themes, and styles.
First used in the 1670s, the adjective hermeneutic has origins in the Greek word hermeneuein, meaning "to interpret," which is thought to have derived from the Greek god Hermes, who served as a messenger interpreting between the gods and mortals. Like Hermes, something hermeneutic involves interpretation. Curious about the main philosophies behind Abstract Expressionism? Take an art history course that uses a hermeneutic approach to interpreting the movement's key artworks.