mantic was our Word of the Day on 06/13/2018. Hear the podcast!
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Did You Know?
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."
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