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[pah-muh-stree] /ˈpɑ mə stri/
the art or practice of telling fortunes and interpreting character from the lines and configurations of the palm of a person's hand.
Also called palm reading.
Origin of palmistry
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English pawmestry, equivalent to pawm palm1 + -estry (origin obscure; cf. -y3)
Related forms
palmist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for palmistry
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Afterwards she told his fortune by cards and he told hers by palmistry.

    The Twelfth Hour

    Ada Leverson
  • I am talking as if palmistry was a daily study with me, but that is not so.

    The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • Kainokku or palmistry, in which the women are more proficient than the men.

  • They started on palmistry, and Jeremy enjoyed himself immensely.

    Double Harness Anthony Hope
  • I have since thought the question may have been confused with palmistry.

    Dactylography Henry Faulds
  • Closely akin to the science of coffee-grounds is that of palmistry.

    Seeing and Hearing George W. E. Russell
  • I am not superstitious, but I believe in palmistry to a certain extent.

    The Deluge David Graham Phillips
  • I believe in palmistry, because I have seen it verified in a hundred and one instances.

    Byways of Ghost-Land Elliott O'Donnell
  • You do not believe in palmistry, and she tossed the hand from her lightly.

    The Girls of Central High on Track and Field David Goodger (
British Dictionary definitions for palmistry


the process or art of interpreting character, telling fortunes, etc, by the configuration of lines, marks, and bumps on a person's hand Also called chiromancy
Derived Forms
palmist, noun
Word Origin
C15 pawmestry, from paumepalm1; the second element is unexplained
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for palmistry

"divination from the palm of the hand," early 15c., from palme (see palm (n.1)) + obscure second element, perhaps -estre (as in Middle English webbestre "weaver") or -rie (as in Middle English archerie "archery"). Palmist (n.) is an 1886 back-formation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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