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Word of the Day
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Definitions for arithmancy

  1. divination by the use of numbers, especially by the number of letters in names. Also arithmomancy.

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Citations for arithmancy
A correspondent who has charge of the arithmancy department of this Magazine, and who is now engaged in constructing a system that will enable us to calculate the periodicity of South American revolutions, and the probable advent of what is called "early spring" in New England, sends to the Drawer the following timely figures bearing upon the immediate future of France ... , "Editor's Drawer," Harper's Monthly Magazine June to November, 1883
In modern languages such as English, many different systems of arithmancy have been produced, none of them entirely satisfactory. The most basic, which is much used in the popular numerology but also can be found in Renaissance occult writings, simply gives each letter the number of its place in the alphabet ... John Michael Greer, Secrets of the Lost Symbol, 2009
Origin of arithmancy
Arithmancy, a kind of divination by numerology, derives from the Greek nouns arithmós “number, a number, amount” and manteía “prophetic power, divination.” The Greeks practiced (and condemned) all sorts of divination, e.g., necromancy, the black art of communicating with ghosts, as in the Odyssey and in the Bible when King Saul consults the “Witch of Endor” in 1 Samuel; oneiromancy, the interpretation of dreams (Aristotle); oracles (as at Delphi); and the perennial astrology. In arithmancy numerical values were assigned to the letters of the alphabet: A = 1, B = 2, etc. Words and especially proper names converted into numbers had power, probably the most famous being “the number of the beast…666” in the New Testament book of the Apocalypse (Revelation). Arithmancy entered English in the 16th century.