Word of the Day : April 11, 2023
What It Means
- Oracular can describe something that is used to forecast or divine, or that resembles or relates to something used for such purposes. Oracular can also describe a person who resembles an oracle—a person (such as a priestess of ancient Greece) through whom a deity is believed to speak.
- // The students admired the professor’s oracular wisdom.
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ORACULAR In Context
“Salman Rushdie’s new novel, Victory City, purports to be the summary of a long-lost, 24,000-verse epic poem from 14th-century India. The hero and author of the poem is Pampa Kampana, who as a girl becomes the conduit for a goddess, channeling her oracular pronouncements and wielding her magical powers.” — Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, 31 Jan. 2023
Did You Know?
When the ancient Greeks had questions or problems, they would turn to the gods for answers by consulting an oracle, a person through whom the gods communicated, usually in the form of cryptic verse. (Oracle also referred to the god’s answer or to the shrine that worshippers approached when seeking advice; the word’s root is the Latin verb orare, which means “to speak.”) English speakers today can use oracle to simply refer to an authoritative pronouncement or to a person who makes such pronouncements—for example, “a designer who is an oracle of fashion.” And the related adjective oracular is used in similar contexts: “a designer who is an oracular voice of fashion.”