[sing-kri-tiz-uhm, sin-]
the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion.
Grammar. the merging, as by historical change in a language, of two or more categories in a specified environment into one, as, in nonstandard English, the use of was with both singular and plural subjects, while in standard English was is used with singular subjects (except for you in the second person singular) and were with plural subjects.

1610–20; < Neo-Latin syncretismus < Greek synkrētismós union of Cretans, i.e., a united front of two opposing parties against a common foe, derivative of synkrēt(ízein) to syncretize + -ismos -ism

syncretic [sin-kret-ik] , syncretical, syncretistic [sing-kri-tis-tik, sin-] , adjective
syncretist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
syncretism (ˈsɪŋkrɪˌtɪzəm)
1.  the tendency to syncretize
2.  the historical tendency of languages to reduce their use of inflection, as in the development of Old English with all its case endings into Modern English
[C17: from New Latin syncrētismus, from Greek sunkrētismos alliance of Cretans, from sunkrētizein to join forces (in the manner of the Cretan towns), from syn- + Krēs a Cretan]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"reconciliation of different beliefs," 1618, from Mod.L. syncretismus (David Pareus, 1615), from Gk. synkretismos "union of communities," from synkretizein "to combine against a common enemy," from syn- + srcond element of uncertain origin. One theory connects it with kretismos "lying," from kretizein
"to lie like a Cretan;" another connects it with the stem of kerannynai "to mix, blend;" krasis "mixture."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Mayan spiritual leaders continued to use some of these locations to practice syncretic forms of worship.
Most of the non-Christians adhere to either traditional religions or syncretic sects.
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