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See also: Sibyl


Michelangelo's rendering of the Delphic sibyl


Latin Sibylla, from Ancient Greek Σίβυλλα (Síbulla).


sibyl (plural sibyls)

  1. A pagan female oracle or prophetess, especially the Cumaean sibyl.
    • c. 1603–1604, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals, and the scene number in lowercase Roman numerals):
      : Act III, Scene IV:
      A sibyl, that had number'd in the world
      The sun to course two hundred compasses,
      In her prophetic fury sew'd the work;
    • 1922 T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland: Epigraph (translated from 61 Petronius' The Satyricon: Chapter 8, Lines 80 -86)
      I used to read these tales in Homer when I was a lad. Then the Sibyl! I saw her at Cumae with my own eyes hanging in a jar; and when the boys cried to her, ‘Sibyl, what would you?' she'd answer, ‘I would die,'-- both of ‘em speaking Greek."
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