mantic was our Word of the Day on 06/29/2011. Hear the podcast!
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The adjective "mantic" comes from the Greek word mantikos, which itself derives from mantis, meaning "prophet." The mantis insect got its name from this same source, supposedly because its posture - with the forelimbs extended as though in prayer -reminded folks of a prophet. Not surprisingly, the combining form "-mancy," which means "divination in a (specified) manner" (as in "necromancy" and "pyromancy"), is a relative of "mantic." A less expected, and more distant, relative is mania, meaning "insanity marked by uncontrollable emotion or excitement" or "excessive enthusiasm." "Mania" descends from Greek mainesthai ("to be mad"), a word akin to "mantis" and its offspring. And indeed, prophesying in ancient Greece was sometimes believed to be "inspired madness."
Origin and Etymology of mantic
First Known Use: 1839See Words from the same year
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