Words at Play : Top 10 Words with Bizarre Meanings

#3: Axinomancy

Definition:

divination by means of the movements of an ax placed on a post

About the Word:

An ancient means of determining guilt, axinomancy involved balancing an ax on a post, and reading a list of names aloud. If the ax moved at a particular name, that person was deemed guilty.

In another (equally strange) version, a marble was placed on a red–hot ax; the motion of the marble signaled guilt.

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April 26, 2015
rococo Hear it
excessively ornate or intricate
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