syncretism

Syncretism is a union or attempted fusion of different religions, cultures, or philosophies — like Halloween, which has both Christian and pagan roots, or the combination of Aristotelian philosophy with the belief system of the early punk rock practitioners.

Syncretism may apply to something whose parts sync well, like salsa dance (a merging combination of African, Latin American, and European cultures), or something whose parts merge less successfully. Syncretism is also a word used for merging different inflection word forms, so that a word can serve more than one function. Examples in English are you, which can be an object or a subject, or pet, which is the same in the past and present tense.

Definitions of syncretism
  1. noun
    the union (or attempted fusion) of different systems of thought or belief (especially in religion or philosophy)
    “a syncretism of material and immaterial theories”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    unification, union
    the state of being joined or united or linked
  2. noun
    the fusion of originally different inflected forms (resulting in a reduction in the use of inflections)
    see moresee less
    type of:
    fusion
    the merging of adjacent sounds or syllables or words
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$19.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$19.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week