any of certain women of antiquity reputed to possess powers of prophecy or divination.
a female prophet or witch.

Origin of sibyl

1250–1300; < Greek Síbylla Sibylla; replacing Middle English Sibil < Medieval Latin Sibilla < Greek, as above

Synonyms for sibyl


or Sib·ylle

[sib-uh l]


a female given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sibyl

Historical Examples of sibyl

  • Her girlhood had in it a certain dignity as of a virgin priestess or sibyl.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • I'm afraid the Sibyl is the only person capable of interpreting these.

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus

    Wilton Wallace Blancke

  • The Sibyl placed them in rows on the ledges of rock inside the cavern.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • The Sibyl only smiled and threw three of the books into the open fire.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • With a guard on either side the Sibyl was shown into the presence of the king.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

British Dictionary definitions for sibyl



(in ancient Greece and Rome) any of a number of women believed to be oracles or prophetesses, one of the most famous being the sibyl of Cumae, who guided Aeneas through the underworld
a witch, fortune-teller, or sorceress
Derived Formssibylline (ˈsɪbɪˌlaɪn, sɪˈbɪlaɪn) or sibyllic or sibylic (sɪˈbɪlɪk), adjective

Word Origin for sibyl

C13: ultimately from Greek Sibulla, of obscure origin
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 sibyl

"woman supposed to possess powers of prophecy, female soothsayer," c.1200, from Old French sibile, from Latin Sibylla, from Greek Sibylla, name for any of several prophetesses consulted by ancient Greeks and Romans, of uncertain origin. Said to be from Doric Siobolla, from Attic Theoboule "divine wish."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper