SYNONYMS FOR clairvoyant
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In the 19th century, the term clairvoyant was widely used in a medical context. So when did it change?
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Origin of clairvoyant
historical usage of clairvoyant
In the 19th century, the term clairvoyant was widely used in a medical context. An especially astute doctor might be able to see a patient’s symptoms and try to make a “clairvoyant diagnosis.” While some of these doctors were legitimate and extremely skilled, the term “clairvoyant physician” was generally used to describe your typical 19th-century quack.
As the meaning of clairvoyant started to shift, reference books of the time attempted to approximate the new uses of the word. The 1873 edition of The American Cyclopaedia describes a clairvoyant as someone who can see through opaque objects, therefore possessing the power to “read a book unopened, or a letter which is enclosed in a solid wood box.” Today, however, clairvoyant carries more spiritual connotations, and such skills would never be cheapened by freak-show displays like divining the text of an unopened book. Rather, the modern clairvoyant prefers only to “see” things that cannot be easily refuted by disbelieving skeptics.
popular references for clairvoyant
— The Clairvoyant: A 1934 film starring Claude Rains and Fay Wray.
— The Clairvoyant Journals: A conceptual art piece (1978) by poet Hannah Weiner. It was written in the form of a diary with 3 concurrent and contrasting voices narrating, and was performed live.
—“The Clairvoyant”: A 1988 song by the band Iron Maiden, purportedly inspired by the death of British psychic Doris Stokes.
OTHER WORDS FROM clairvoyantclair·voy·ant·ly, adverb
Words nearby clairvoyant
Example sentences from the Web for clairvoyant
Some choose to believe that these clairvoyants have other worldly insights that most people do not.
While some of these doctors were legitimate and extremely skilled, the term clairvoyant physician was generally used to describe your typical 19th-century quack.
I don’t think anybody was clairvoyant enough, wise enough to think that far down the road this was going to be a consequence.
The “clairvoyant camel” has picked Argentina over Germany in the World Cup final.The Amazing Tale of Paul the Psychic Octopus: Germany’s World Cup Soothsayer|Emily Shire|July 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Because the former commissioner at the center of the “newly re-burgeoning” IRS “scandal” is clearly a clairvoyant.The Woman at the Center of the IRS ‘Scandal’ Must Be Clairvoyant|Michael Tomasky|June 23, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The faculty members here are neither clairvoyant nor peering over shoulders.'It's Big Brother, Sort of, But With a Good Intent'|Justin Green|April 10, 2013|DAILY BEAST
It's not Dickens' finest work, but it may be one of his most clairvoyant.
It seemed as if Michel, in his own clairvoyant way, was already preparing to write Bush's memoirs.
Debussy is a man of unhampered and clairvoyant imagination, a dreamer with a far-wandering vision.Aspects of Modern Opera|Lawrence Gilman
Before he had time to fly, one of them, with the rapidity of an arrow, struck his clairvoyant eye with a stick and burst it.The Science of Fairy Tales|Edwin Sidney Hartland
According to these words Ezekiel was either an out-and-out deceiver, a wicked man, or, he was a clairvoyant.The Prophet Ezekiel|Arno C. Gaebelein
The clairvoyant added that he would probably live to a great age and die in a foreign land—a prophecy which did not comfort him.Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete|Albert Bigelow Paine
With her face hidden by a thick vail, and accompanied by her maid she went to visit the clairvoyant who was spoken of so highly.Jack Harkaway in New York|Bracebridge Hemyng