necromancy

noun

nec·​ro·​man·​cy ˈne-krə-ˌman(t)-sē How to pronounce necromancy (audio)
1
: conjuration (see conjure sense 2a) of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events
The novel centers on the practice of necromancy and its influence on the world of the living.
2
: magic, sorcery
Townspeople accused her of necromancy.
necromancer noun
necromantic adjective
necromantically adverb

Examples of necromancy in a Sentence

The town accused her of witchcraft and necromancy. in the conjuring of the souls of the dead, necromancy seemed to offer human beings a means of exerting some control over an uncertain world
Recent Examples on the Web After her death, Morgan even resorted to necromancy, reviving the People’s Princess (now embodied by Elizabeth Debicki) as an apparition who soothes a disconsolate Charles (Dominic West) and makes peace with a grieving but resentful Elizabeth (Imelda Staunton). Inkoo Kang, The New Yorker, 14 Dec. 2023 Part of my aversion arises from my own hidebound premodern Calvinist outlook, in which death is no laughing matter and necromancy is forbidden by God (see Deuteronomy 18:9-13). Barton Swaim, WSJ, 26 Oct. 2023 Season 8, which arrived on BritBox last month, includes a spooky Christmas tale, a bright spin on necromancy, a game show that doesn’t go according to plan (hosted by Lee Mack) and an off-kilter love story. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, 7 Sep. 2023 Vo’s introduction of witchcraft, necromancy and enchantment miraculously produces a more relevant novel than that poetic tale of a gaudy stalker and his closeted pimp that’s been passed off for decades as the ultimate interrogation of the American Dream. Washington Post, 18 June 2021 The necromancy reference and Gideon's own interest in cloning would seem to be connections to the cloning project that led to Snoke and the eventual reveal of the cloned Emperor Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 12 Apr. 2023 Faith is desperately pinned to necromancy. Robert Shackleton, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 Many writers, especially of the Afropessimist school, argue that Black trauma has been hijacked by narratives of redemption, as names like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor cease to refer to individuals and become—by a kind of necromancy—avatars of others’ political ideals. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021 At Google I/O 2022, the company decided to engage in a bit of device necromancy. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, 24 Dec. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'necromancy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English nycromancie "sorcery, conjuration of spirits," borrowed from Late Latin necromantīa "divination from an exhumed corpse," borrowed from Late Greek nekromanteía "divination by conjuration of the dead," from Greek nekro- necro- + -manteia -mancy; replacing earlier Middle English nigromance, nygromancye, borrowed from Anglo-French nigromance, nigromancie, borrowed from Medieval Latin nigromantia, alteration of necromantia by association with Latin nigr-, niger "black"

Note: The ancient Greek correspondents to later nekromanteía were nekyomanteía and nékyia (from nékȳs "corpse"), the former used particularly to describe Odysseus's journey to Hades in Book 11 of the Odyssey to consult the spirits of the dead.

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of necromancy was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near necromancy

Cite this Entry

“Necromancy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/necromancy. Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

necromancy

noun
nec·​ro·​man·​cy ˈnek-rə-ˌman(t)-sē How to pronounce necromancy (audio)
1
: the art or practice of calling up the spirits of the dead for magical purposes
2
necromancer noun

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