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

Noun I met her long before she had become the oracle of pop culture.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And in an era of eroding trust in traditional oracles—the media, the government, the medical profession—people are not sure who to turn to. Belinda Luscombe, Time, "Why Overreacting to the Threat of the Coronavirus May Be Rational," 11 Mar. 2020 The worst kind of political institution, in fact: One that pretends to be something quite different — an apolitical arbiter of what the law says, an oracle of justice shorn of passion. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Schumer, the Supreme Court, and the Mob," 5 Mar. 2020 But the world is very different today, in the wake of Instagram and influencers, Rihanna’s incursion at LVMH, the rise of streetwear and Mr. West’s own position as a sort of combination Delphic oracle/court jester/cultural harbinger/sneaker supremo. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Kanye West Returns to Paris Fashion Week," 3 Mar. 2020 Monumental Theatre Company stages this recent Broadway show featuring couples on a quest for love, set in a magical kingdom with princesses and oracles. Washington Post, "18 things to do in the D.C. area this week," 2 Mar. 2020 This oracle approach, this black box approach, is doomed to fail. Amy Gunia / Hong Kong, Time, "'It's a Matter of When.' How Machines Are Taking Over the World's Stock Markets," 21 Dec. 2019 The conductor is an oracle and interpreter, a guide and disciplinarian—and, for me, a novice aficionado of classical music, a necessary hand in the dark and a useful focal point. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "Teodor Currentzis Brings His Intense Verdi to New York," 18 Nov. 2019 The oracle McDowell hopes the third time’s the charm. Nic Garcia, Dallas News, "Democrats debate which one can finally turn Texas’ 24th Congressional District blue," 16 Feb. 2020 In 1533, Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro ordered his followers to knock the oracle from its pedestal in front of horrified onlookers. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "X-rays reveal the faded colors of a 1,300-year-old Inca idol," 17 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for oracle

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

28 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oracle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for oracle


How to pronounce Oracle (audio)

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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