necromancy

[nek-ruh-man-see]
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noun
  1. a method of divination through alleged communication with the dead; black art.
  2. magic in general, especially that practiced by a witch or sorcerer; sorcery; witchcraft; conjuration.

Origin of necromancy

1250–1300; necro- + -mancy; replacing Middle English nigromancie < Medieval Latin nigromantīa for Late Latin necromantīa < Greek nekromanteía; by folk etymology nigro- (combining form of Latin niger black) was substituted in ML for original necro-
Related formsnec·ro·man·cer, nounnec·ro·man·tic; Obsolete, nec·ro·man·ti·cal, adjectivenec·ro·man·ti·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for necromancy

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2. See magic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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Historical Examples of necromancy


British Dictionary definitions for necromancy

necromancy

noun
  1. the art or practice of supposedly conjuring up the dead, esp in order to obtain from them knowledge of the future
  2. black magic; sorcery
Derived Formsnecromancer, nounnecromantic, adjective

Word Origin for necromancy

C13: (as in sense 1) ultimately from Greek nekromanteia, from nekros corpse; (as in sense 2) from Medieval Latin nigromantia, from Latin niger black, which replaced necro- through folk etymology
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

Word Origin and History for necromancy
n.

c.1300, nygromauncy, "divination by communication with the dead," from Old French nigromancie "magic, necromancy, witchcraft, sorcery," from Medieval Latin nigromantia (13c.), from Latin necromantia "divination from an exhumed corpse," from Greek nekromanteia, from nekros "dead body" (see necro-) + manteia "divination, oracle," from manteuesthai "to prophesy," from mantis "prophet" (see mania). Spelling influenced in Medieval Latin by niger "black," on notion of "black arts." Modern spelling is a mid-16c. correction. Related: Necromantic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper