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Word of the Day
Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Definitions for sibylline

  1. mysterious; cryptic.
  2. of, resembling, or characteristic of a sibyl; prophetic; oracular.

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Citations for sibylline
His eulogy, filled with moving tributes to the Generalissimo yet attenuated by sibylline critical allusions, made some uninformed courtiers shed tears, disconcerted others, raised the eyebrows of still others, and left many confused, but it earned the congratulations of the diplomatic corps. Mario Vargas Llosa, The Feast of the Goat, translated by Edith Grossman, 2001
"Say you nothin'. Saw wood." With that sibylline utterance, Lomax bowlegged himself off to the tomato plants. Charlotte MacLeod, The Bilbao Looking Glass, 1983
Origin of sibylline
1570-1580
Sibyl is not a personal, proper name in Greek or Latin; it is common noun denoting the office or function of a divinely inspired prophetess. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus (c540-c470 b.c.) is the first Greek author to mention the (or a) Sibyl. By the time of St. Jerome (a.d. c340-420), there were or had been ten sibyls throughout Europe, North Africa, and Asia. The most famous sibyl was at Delphi and flourished before the Trojan War (therefore antedating the Pythian oracle, which dates from the 8th century b.c.). The last, tenth sibyl was added by the Romans. She was the Sybil at Cumae, a Greek city or colony near Naples. Virgil in his Fourth Eclogue has the Cumaean Sibyl predict the coming of a savior (Augustus), which Christians later interpreted as referring to the birth of Christ. In book 6 of the Aeneid, Aeneas first visits the Cumaean Sibyl before he descends to the underworld. Sibylline entered English in the late 16th century.