Definition of hydromancy
: divination by the appearance or motion of liquids (such as water)
hydromancy was our Word of the Day on 07/09/2012. Hear the podcast!
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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."
Origin and Etymology of hydromancy
Middle English ydromancie, from Middle French hydromancie, from Latin hydromantia, from hydr- + -mantia -mancy
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Learn More about hydromancy
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hydromancy
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