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

Milwaukee Opera Theatre teams with vocal ensemble Aperi Animam and Cadance Collective for a music-theater production about ancient Greek oracles that blends Orlando de Lassus' Renaissance motets with contemporary composer Amanda Schoofs' music. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Hamilton' and 23 other shows to see during Milwaukee's 2019 performing arts season," 15 Aug. 2019 In their small group, LeToya is considered the pastor, Keri is the oracle and Eudoxie is the protector. Essence, "Keri Hilson, LeToya Luckett and Eudoxie Bridges Talk Black Women Celebrating and Supporting Each Other," 23 July 2019 Berman was a figure of admiration and mystique—tall and handsome, with the aura of a low-key oracle. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, "David Berman Made Us Feel Less Alone," 8 Aug. 2019 Ignoring the oracle of Delphi is not, historically speaking, a wise move. Kerry Reid,, "Review: Set to the music of the Go-Go’s, ‘Head Over Heels’ is a success with a goofy desire to please," 8 July 2019 In their small group, LeToya is considered the pastor, Keri is the oracle and Eudoxie is the protector. Essence, "Keri Hilson, LeToya Luckett and Eudoxie Bridges Talk Black Women Celebrating and Supporting Each Other," 23 July 2019 Some theorize that ancient indigenous populations carved it to depict Carthaginians consulting an oracle that would tell them when to sail home. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "Eight Spots in the United States Where You Can See Petroglyphs," 18 July 2019 Underwritten characters and dropped plot threads abound — what’s with the town’s misshapen oracle? Ty Burr,, "In ‘Midsommar,’ it’s dark beneath the midnight sun," 2 July 2019 The arc ends with modernist figures such as Cioran and Calvino, who are at once oracles and comedians. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "The Art of Aphorism," 15 July 2019

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


Statistics for oracle

Last Updated

30 Aug 2019

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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).


to make a temporary encampment

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