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From oneiro- (prefix meaning ‘dream’) +‎ -mancy (suffix meaning ‘divination’); compare French onéiromancie, oniromancie.[1]



oneiromancy (countable and uncountable, plural oneiromancies)

  1. (uncountable, divination) Divination by the interpretation of dreams.
    • 1979, T. Fahd, “KIHĀNA”, in C[lifford] E[dmund] Bosworth, E[meri J.] van Donzel, B[ernard] Lewis, and Ch[arles] Pellat, editors, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, volume V, new edition, Leiden: E. J. Brill, OCLC 917237494, fascicules 79–80 (ḴH̱EMS̱H̱IL–ḴIRĀ’A), page 101, column 1:
      The absence of oneiromancy among the divinatory techniques is justified by the fact that it occupies in Islam a higher place than that of divination in the sphere of religious inspiration.
    • 1989, A[braham] P. Bos, “Manteia in Aristotle”, in Cosmic and Meta-cosmic Theology in Aristotle’s Lost Dialogues (Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History; 16), →ISBN, page 164:
      7. Did Aristotle's attitude to oneiromancy change? / In the foregoing sections we sketched the consistent and lucid oneirology which various indirect sources attribute to Aristotle.
    • 1999, Jean-Marie Husser; Jill M. Munro, transl., Dreams and Dream Narratives in the Biblical World (The Biblical Seminar; 63), Sheffield, South Yorkshire: Sheffield Academic Press, →ISBN, page 30:
      2. Deductive Oneiromancy / This form of oneiromancy aims to decipher the messages contained in ordinary, everyday dreams, messages thought to presage future events in the life of the dreamer.
  2. (uncountable, in a weak sense) The interpretation of dreams.
    Synonyms: oneirocriticism, oneirology, oneiroscopy
    • 1832, Samuel Jackson, “Of Sleep and Dreams”, in The Principles of Medicine, Founded on the Structure and Functions of the Animal Organism, Philadelphia, Pa.: Carey & Lea, OCLC 2698716, § 2 (Of Dreams), page 306:
      The general tenor of ideas in dreaming is the same as that with which the mind is occupied awake; and thus may be revealed, in dreams, the state of the mind, the secret hopes and wishes, the profoundly hidden thought, and often the circumstances of the dreamer. The knowledge of this fact, and its dextrous application, by an acute observer, with the credulous, compose the art of oneiromancy.
  3. (countable, divination) An act of such divination or dream-interpretation.
    • 1847 October, John Ashburner, “IV. On the Silent Influence of the Will. By Dr. Ashburner. Communicated in a Letter to Dr. [John] Elliotson.”, in The Zoist: A Journal of Cerebral Physiology & Mesmerism, and Their Applications to Human Welfare, volume V, number XIX, London: Hippolyte Ballière, publisher, []; Paris: J. B. Ballière, []; Leipzig: T. O. Weigel, published 1848, OCLC 187499064, page 265:
      Finding that I could produce obedience to my silent will in somnambulists to the extent of inducing some to lift the hand to either cheek— [] I resolved to try if I could influence some of my patients to obey me in the performance of a train of actions. This was education, and this I take it requires the high order of patience to bring to the degree of perfection which we have seen exhibited in the oneiromancie of the cook-maid Mlle. Isa Prudence, whose mesmeric education does so much credit to the charming Mlle. Herminie Laurant and her rotund parent.
    • 1997, Jacques Lezra, “The Ontology of the Letter in Descartes’s Second Meditation”, in Unspeakable Subjects: The Genealogy of the Event in Early Modern Europe, Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, →ISBN, page 81:
      [] Minerva must never be confused with Santa Maria, for all that they occupy the same discursive space, for all that they must occupy the same position in [Sigmund] Freud's account of the mind, any more than The Interpretation of Dreams can be confused with oneiromancies and dream-books of the past, or Freud's account of the Eternal City with [René] Descartes's.

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  1. ^ oneiromancy, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2004.

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