orac·​u·​lar ȯ-ˈra-kyə-lər How to pronounce oracular (audio)
: resembling an oracle (as in solemnity of delivery)
: of, relating to, or being an oracle
oracularity noun
oracularly adverb

Did you know?

When the ancient Greeks had questions or problems, they would turn to the gods for answers by consulting an oracle, a person through whom the gods communicated, usually in the form of cryptic verse. (Oracle also referred to the god's answer or to the shrine that worshippers approached when seeking advice; the word's root is the Latin verb orare, which means "to speak.") English speakers today can use oracle to simply refer to an authoritative pronouncement or to a person who makes such pronouncements—for example, "a designer who is an oracle of fashion." And the related adjective oracular is used in similar contexts: "a designer who is an oracular voice of fashion."

Choose the Right Synonym for oracular

dictatorial, magisterial, dogmatic, doctrinaire, oracular mean imposing one's will or opinions on others.

dictatorial stresses autocratic, high-handed methods and a domineering manner.

exercised dictatorial control over the office

magisterial stresses assumption or use of prerogatives appropriate to a magistrate or schoolmaster in forcing acceptance of one's opinions.

the magisterial tone of his pronouncements

dogmatic implies being unduly and offensively positive in laying down principles and expressing opinions.

dogmatic about what is art and what is not

doctrinaire implies a disposition to follow abstract theories in framing laws or policies affecting people.

a doctrinaire approach to improving the economy

oracular implies the manner of one who delivers opinions in cryptic phrases or with pompous dogmatism.

a designer who is the oracular voice of fashion

Examples of oracular in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The book carries Ward’s characteristic mélange of vernacular speech and lush, sometimes oracular prose, immersing readers in the blessings — and difficulties — of family, the ways that bonds can both nurture and destroy. Imani Perry, New York Times, 13 Oct. 2023 Mambo’s ability to fill a potentially minor moment with zest speaks to the richness of his performance as Sterling, who is now funny, now oracular, now a case study in unpredictable action. Celia Wren, Washington Post, 19 June 2023 His pronouncements seem oracular, his verdicts correct. Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2023 There are, of course, more familiar names that sometimes arise from the oracular mists of the Swedish Academy, particularly over the past few decades, when, though tainted by scandal, the Nobel Committee became, off and on, more, uh, hip—both Bob Dylan and Kazuo Ishiguro come to mind. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 9 Oct. 2022 These computer models don’t make oracular forecasts. Popular Mechanics, 24 May 2023 Morton describes the origin of Hyperobjects as oracular—like a radio transmission sent from the future. Laura Hudson, Wired, 16 Nov. 2021 His comments were aphoristic or oracular, but often infused with wit. Martin Rees, Discover Magazine, 14 Mar. 2019 The puppet of my father had a tendency toward oracular pronouncements. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 6 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'oracular.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin oraculum

First Known Use

1631, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of oracular was in 1631


Dictionary Entries Near oracular

Cite this Entry

“Oracular.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oracular. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


orac·​u·​lar ȯ-ˈrak-yə-lər How to pronounce oracular (audio)
: of, relating to, or being an oracle
: resembling an oracle
oracularly adverb

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