or·​a·​cle | \ ˈȯr-ə-kəl How to pronounce oracle (audio) , ˈär-\

Definition of oracle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a person (such as a priestess of ancient Greece) through whom a deity is believed to speak the prophecies of the Delphic oracle— D. F. Marks
b : a shrine in which a deity reveals hidden knowledge or the divine purpose through such a person
c : an answer or decision given by an oracle ambiguous oracles
2a : a person giving wise or authoritative decisions or opinions She became an oracle of pop culture.
b : an authoritative or wise expression or answer


geographical name
Or·​a·​cle | \ ˈȯr-ə-kəl How to pronounce Oracle (audio) , ˈär-\

Definition of Oracle (Entry 2 of 2)

unincorporated settlement north-northeast of Tucson in southern Arizona population 3686; site of a biome research facility

Examples of oracle in a Sentence


I met her long before she had become the oracle of pop culture.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Other rulers before him deployed oracles, omens and even impersonations of gods to awe their subjects into obedience. James Romm, WSJ, "‘Soldier, Priest, and God’ Review: The Emperor Divine," 13 Dec. 2018 Look to trend oracle and cool-girl Y/Project stylist Ursina Gysi for inspiration. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "The Best Fashion Instagrams of the Week: Paloma Elsesser Glows in Yellow, Yara Shahidi Stuns in Pink, and Lil Miquela Wears Herself," 22 Sep. 2018 For some, that shift presents as a palpable swing away from youthful optimism and toward the cynical, jaded, world-weary determination of an aged oracle with a thousand-yard-stare. Aja Romano, Vox, "The memes of the 2018 midterm elections reflect a feeling of urgency and determination," 6 Nov. 2018 On its eastern edge are the Sibillini Mountains, named for the Appenine Sibyl—a legendary oracle who lived in a cave there and dispensed prophecies to medieval travelers. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Italian Pine Forest Is Shaped Exactly Like...Italy," 1 Oct. 2018 Biblical predictions have the ambiguity of the oracle. Rabbi David Wolpe, Time, "Why We Shouldn't Be So Sure of Our Predictions About the Future," 20 Apr. 2018 The Fed’s extraordinary policies in the past decade distorted capital markets and arguably accommodated poor fiscal-policy decisions by oracles in the White House and Congress. WSJ, "Was the Phillips Curve Ever a Reliable Tool?," 9 May 2018 Head Over Heels The Curran presents a musical romp featuring the music of the Go-Go’s about a royal famliy that must prevent an oracle’s prophecy of doom. Chronicle Staff Report, San Francisco Chronicle, "Theater capsule reviews and listings, week of April 22," 19 Apr. 2018 Actress and writer Amber Tamblyn looked like an oracle late last year. Stephanie Merry,, "Amber Tamblyn's novel about sexual assault will upset some people. She's OK with that.," 26 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of oracle


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for oracle


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin oraculum, from orare to speak — more at oration

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Dictionary Entries near oracle






oracle bone


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Time Traveler for oracle

The first known use of oracle was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for oracle



English Language Learners Definition of oracle

: a person (such as a priestess) through whom a god was believed to speak
: the place (such as a shrine) where people went to ask questions of an oracle
: an answer or message given by an oracle


or·​a·​cle | \ ˈȯr-ə-kəl How to pronounce oracle (audio) \

Kids Definition of oracle

1 : a person (as a priestess in ancient Greece) through whom a god is believed to speak
2 : the place where a god speaks through a person
3 : an answer given by a person through whom a god speaks

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More from Merriam-Webster on oracle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oracle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oracle

Spanish Central: Translation of oracle

Nglish: Translation of oracle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oracle for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about oracle

Comments on oracle

What made you want to look up oracle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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