1. a meeting in which a spiritualist attempts to communicate with the spirits of the dead.
  2. a session or sitting, as of a class or organization.

Origin of séance

1795–1805; < French: session, equivalent to sé-, base of seoir to sit1 (< Latin sedēre) + -ance -ance
Can be confusedscience séance
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for seance

gathering, meeting, ritual, session

Examples from the Web for seance

Historical Examples of seance

  • This is the first seance I have ever taken part in, but I must believe now.'

    Echoes of the War

    J. M. Barrie

  • The seance is of old and elder men, of whom Socrates is the youngest.



  • Then followed the usual sort of thing which follows at this sort of seance.

    Galusha the Magnificent

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • When Old Stone Face had been staring at them during the seanceseance?

    Sense from Thought Divide

    Mark Irvin Clifton

  • At the termination of the seance, the spirit-voice said, 'We are going'.

British Dictionary definitions for seance



  1. a meeting at which spiritualists attempt to receive messages from the spirits of the dead
  2. a meeting of a society

Word Origin for seance

C19: from French, literally: a sitting, from Old French seoir to sit, from Latin sedēre
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 seance

1789, "sitting, session," as of a learned society, from French séance "a sitting," from seoir "to sit," from Latin sedere (see sedentary). Meaning "spiritualistic session" first recorded 1845.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper