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Ancient Greek kledon, "an omen".


cledonomancy (uncountable)

  1. Divination through interpreting random remarks, statements or events.
    • 1911 Encyc. of Religion & Ethics
      The consultant whispered his questions into the god's ear, then stopped his own ears, went out, and, when he got beyond the market-place, listened for chance words from passers-by. These were construed into an answer. This form of divination (cledonomancy) remained popular at all periods.
    • 1970 B.I. Rakoczi in Man, Myth & Magic v.
      Pausanias (2nd century AD) gives an example of cledonomancy. A man was not sure whether to marry a young woman of his own clan or a rich woman of more exalted rank. While thinking over the problem, he heard a child at play with his fellows shout, 'Take care of yourself' which he at once understood to mean that he should marry the rich one!