hydromancy

noun
hy·​dro·​man·​cy | \ ˈhī-drə-ˌman(t)-sē How to pronounce hydromancy (audio) \

Definition of hydromancy

: divination by the appearance or motion of liquids (such as water)

Did You Know?

If you've ever encountered a sorceress or a wizard peering into a "scrying bowl" as part of a movie or a book, you've witnessed a (fictionalized) version of "hydromancy." The word has been used since at least the 14th century to describe the use of water in divination - examples include predicting the future by the motion of the tides or contacting spirits using still water. "Hydromancy" is believed to derive ultimately from the Greek words for "water" ("hydōr") and "divination" ("manteia"); it came to English via Latin hydromantia. The ancient Greeks who relied on hydromancy also gave us the names for related forms of divination, such as "necromancy" (using the dead), "pyromancy" (with fire), and even "rhabdomancy," a fancy and now rare word for "divination with wands or rods."

First Known Use of hydromancy

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hydromancy

Middle English ydromancie, from Middle French hydromancie, from Latin hydromantia, from hydr- + -mantia -mancy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hydromancy

Time Traveler for hydromancy

Time Traveler

The first known use of hydromancy was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about hydromancy

Statistics for hydromancy

Cite this Entry

“Hydromancy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hydromancy. Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on hydromancy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hydromancy

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hydromancy

Comments on hydromancy

What made you want to look up hydromancy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!