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

Example Sentences

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 Superstition is seen, luminous in its ineradicability, in a little book of necromancy, which is widely studied in Teutonic tenements. Robert Shackleton, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 The Briarwoods are also really into necromancy and a secret cult, and Vox Machina must prevent them from completing a dangerous ritual that would endanger everyone in the kingdom. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 12 Jan. 2022 The most recent entry into the Arkham Files is something of a real life case of necromancy. Rob Wieland, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 Glint manages to unearth that the Headless Ones are probably linked to Nokris and his necromancy, raising Hive from the dead without the aid of Ghosts like Guardians have. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 Today a substantial subset of people seem to regard science as the equivalent of necromancy or alchemy, or, like, Rumpelstiltskin. Washington Post, 10 Sep. 2021 The hearing delved into originalism, the Founding Fathers, King George III and even necromancy. Petra Cahill, NBC News, 5 Dec. 2019 The Nightsisters The Nightsisters, first introduced in season 3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, were a coven of witches who reside on the planet Dathomir and use the Force to practice magic, including illusion and necromancy. Nick Romano, EW.com, 21 Nov. 2019 In other words, the Bunnies fail both literally, within their necromancy, and metaphorically, within their writing, to bring their characters to life. Hermione Hoby, The New Yorker, 3 July 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'necromancy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 6 Dec. 2022.

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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