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  1. the art or practice of telling fortunes and interpreting character from the lines and configurations of the palm of a person's hand.
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Origin of palmistry

1375–1425; late Middle English pawmestry, equivalent to pawm palm1 + -estry (origin obscure; cf. -y3)
Also called palm reading.
Related formspalm·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for palmistry


  1. the process or art of interpreting character, telling fortunes, etc, by the configuration of lines, marks, and bumps on a person's handAlso called: chiromancy
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Derived Formspalmist, noun

Word Origin

C15 pawmestry, from paume palm 1; the second element is unexplained
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 palmistry


"divination from the palm of the hand," early 15c., from palme (see palm (n.1)) + obscure second element, perhaps -estre (as in Middle English webbestre "weaver") or -rie (as in Middle English archerie "archery"). Palmist (n.) is an 1886 back-formation.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper