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sortilege

[sawr-tl-ij]
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noun
  1. the drawing of lots for divination; divination by lot.
  2. 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 formssor·ti·leg·ic [sawr-tl-ej-ik] /ˌsɔr tlˈɛdʒ ɪk/, sor·ti·le·gious [sawr-tl-ee-juh s] /ˌsɔr tlˈi dʒəs/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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


British Dictionary definitions for sortilege

sortilege

noun
  1. the act or practice of divination by drawing lots
  2. 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