[ awr-uh-kuh l, or- ]
/ ˈɔr ə kəl, ˈɒr- /


Nearby words

  1. ora et labora,
  2. ora pro nobis,
  3. orac,
  4. orach,
  5. orache,
  6. oracle bones,
  7. oracles,
  8. oracular,
  9. oracularity,
  10. oracularly

Origin of oracle

1350–1400; Middle English < Old French < Latin ōrāculum, equivalent to ōrā(re) to plead (see oration) + -culum -cle2

Can be confusedauricle oracle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for oracles

British Dictionary definitions for oracles


/ (ˈɒrəkəlz) /

pl n

another term for Scripture (def. 1)


/ (ˈɒrəkəl) /


a prophecy, often obscure or allegorical, revealed through the medium of a priest or priestess at the shrine of a god
a shrine at which an oracular god is consulted
an agency through which a prophecy is transmitted
any person or thing believed to indicate future action with infallible authority
a statement believed to be infallible and authoritative
  1. a message from God
  2. the holy of holies in the Israelite temple
See also oracles

Word Origin for oracle

C14: via Old French from Latin ōrāculum, from ōrāre to request

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 oracles



late 14c., "a message from a god, expressed by divine inspiration," from Old French oracle "temple, house of prayer; oracle" (12c.) and directly from Latin oraculum "divine announcement, oracle; place where oracles are given," from orare "pray, plead" (see orator), with material instrumental suffix -culo-. In antiquity, "the agency or medium of a god," also "the place where such divine utterances were given." This sense is attested in English from c.1400.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper