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[sawr-tl-ij] /ˈsɔr tl ɪdʒ/
the drawing of lots for divination; divination by lot.
sorcery; magic.
Origin of sortilege
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin sortilegium, for Latin sortilegus, equivalent to sort- (stem of sors) lot, chance + -i- -i- + -legus (derivative of legere to read, count, choose out); see -ium
Related forms
[sawr-tl-ej-ik] /ˌsɔr tlˈɛdʒ ɪk/ (Show IPA),
[sawr-tl-ee-juh s] /ˌsɔr tlˈi dʒəs/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sortilege
Historical Examples
  • He had recourse to every superstition of sortilege, clairvoyance, presentiment, and dreams.

    Lost Edward Bellamy
  • And strangely enough it resembled the state of mind of a man who fears disenchantment more than sortilege.

    Within the Tides Joseph Conrad
  • From various sources of information we know that the Druids had recourse to sortilege by fire.

  • I do not know where this form of sortilege originated; it is probably as old as Luther's Bible.

    The Graysons Edward Eggleston
  • "'Tis witchcraft and sortilege, maleficium et sortilegium," said the abbat.

    A Legend of Reading Abbey

    Charles MacFarlane
  • This narrative, of combined bibliomancy and sortilege, is a curious one, but let it pass.

  • On the same occasions, the will of the gods was ascertained by the casting of lot or other processes of sortilege.

    Canute the Great Laurence Marcellus Larson
  • sortilege was one of the things which Wesley learned from the devout Moravians.

British Dictionary definitions for sortilege


the act or practice of divination by drawing lots
magic or sorcery
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Medieval Latin sortilegium, from Latin sortilegus a soothsayer, from sors fate + legere to select
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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