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 As Pollock’s oracle, Greenberg had a kind of prestige that no critic has had since. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "Helen Frankenthaler and the Messy Art of Life," 5 Apr. 2021 Otherwise, the Infinite Dial continues to be an oracle of useful information about digital audio programming and its popularity on a range of consumer devices. Bill Rosenblatt, Forbes, "New Survey Bears Good News For Spotify And Podcasts, Bad News For Radio," 12 Mar. 2021 However much Twitter might urge him to play oracle, @jack will refuse. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, "While Jack Dorsey Mans the Monastery," 2 Mar. 2021 While the rich might pay to petition the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, most people turned to simpler techniques to seek guidance from the gods, such as throwing dice made of animal knuckle bones. Joshua P. Nudell, The Conversation, "An ancient Greek approach to risk and the lessons it can offer the modern world," 22 Feb. 2021 At sunrise on Groundhog Day, members of Punxsutawney Phil's top hat-wearing inner circle revealed the cuddly oracle's prediction — his 135th, according to the Pennsylvania Tourism Office. CBS News, "Groundhog Day 2021: Punxsutawney Phil predicts 6 more weeks of winter," 2 Feb. 2021 The company did not respond to a request for comment about how some of its researchers use LDNOOBW as an oracle of what’s objectionable. Tom Simonite, Wired, "AI and the List of Dirty, Naughty, Obscene, and Otherwise Bad Words," 4 Feb. 2021 Looking back, Rangnick appears less a maverick and more an oracle. Rory Smith, New York Times, "The Oracle Is Speaking Again. Who Will Listen This Time?," 8 Dec. 2020 At times this Hungarian master has seemed less a filmmaker than an oracle of the seventh art, handing down doom-laden prophecies that just happen to be inscribed in the medium of motion pictures. Justin Chang Film Critic, Los Angeles Times, "Best 2020 double feature: Two favorite discoveries in film’s toughest year," 11 Dec. 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

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

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Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Oracle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2021.

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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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