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[Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin oraculum, from orare to speak — more at oration


  • 1 a : a person (as a priestess of ancient Greece) through whom a deity is believed to speak
b : a shrine in which a deity reveals hidden knowledge or the divine purpose through such a person
c : an answer or decision given by an oracle
  • 2 a : a person giving wise or authoritative decisions or opinions
b : an authoritative or wise expression or answer


An oracle is a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion. It may also be a revealed prediction or precognition of the future, from deities, that is spoken through another object or life-form (e.g.: augury and auspice).

In the ancient world many sites gained a reputation for the dispensing of oracular wisdom: they too became known as "oracles," and the oracular utterances, called khrēsmoi in Greek, were often referred to under the same name—a name derived from the Latin verb ōrāre, to speak.

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