necromancy

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Circa 1300, from Old French nigromancie, from Medieval Latin nigromantia, from Latin necromantia, from Ancient Greek νεκρομαντεία (nekromanteía), νεκρός (nekrós, dead) + μαντεία (manteía, divination). Medieval Latin spelling, incorporating niger (black), influenced by the notion of black art. Modern spelling adopted in mid-1500s.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: nĕkʹ-rə-măn'-si, IPA(key): /ˈnɛkrəˌmænsi/

Noun[edit]

necromancy (countable and uncountable, plural necromancies)

  1. Divination involving the dead or death.
    • 1597 King James Daemonologie
      And for to make this treatise the more pleasaunt and facill, I have put it in forme of a Dialogue, which I have diuided into three bookes: The first speaking of Magie in general, and Necromancie in special.
    • 1652 Gaule The Magastromancer
      And in one word for all, Nagomancy, or Necromancy; by inspecting, consulting, and divining by, with, or from the dead.
    • 1867 E. Rogers, quoted in K. Thomas Relig. & Decline of Magic
      the Devil did often tempt me to study necromancy and nigromancy and to make use of magic, and to make a league with him...
    • 1920 L. Spence Encyc. Occult
      There is no doubt..that necromancy is the touch-stone of occultism...
  2. Loosely, any sorcery or witchcraft, especially involving death or the dead, particularly sorcery involving raising or reanimating the dead.

Derived terms[edit]

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