Word of the Day : June 29, 2011


adjective MAN-tik


: of or relating to the faculty of divination : prophetic

Did You Know?

The adjective "mantic" comes from the Greek word "mantikos," which itself derives from "mantis," meaning "prophet." The mantis insect got its name from this same source, supposedly because its posture -- with the forelimbs extended as though in prayer --reminded folks of a prophet. Not surprisingly, the combining form "-mancy," which means "divination in a (specified) manner" (as in "necromancy" and "pyromancy"), is a relative of "mantic." A less expected, and more distant, relative is "mania," meaning "insanity marked by uncontrollable emotion or excitement" or "excessive enthusiasm." "Mania" descends from Greek "mainesthai" ("to be mad"), a word akin to "mantis" and its offspring. And indeed, prophesying in ancient Greece was sometimes believed to be "inspired madness."


Ever since we visited that fortune teller at the carnival, Mary has shown a strong interest in astrology and the other mantic arts.

"Like everyone else, I was in awe of her mantic abilities, and I think she looked upon my storytelling endeavors with indulgence, having known both my father and my grandfather in their prime." -- From Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya's 2011 novel The Storyteller of Marrakesh

Word Family Quiz

What is the meaning of the "mantic" relative "oneiromancy"? The answer is ...


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