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necromancy

[nek-ruh-man-see] /ˈnɛk rəˌmæn si/
noun
1.
a method of divination through alleged communication with the dead; black art.
2.
magic in general, especially that practiced by a witch or sorcerer; sorcery; witchcraft; conjuration.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; necro- + -mancy; replacing Middle English nigromancie < Medieval Latin nigromantīa for Late Latin necromantīa < Greek nekromanteía; by folk etymology nigro- (combining form of Latin niger black) was substituted in ML for original necro-
Related forms
necromancer, noun
necromantic; Obsolete, necromantical, adjective
necromantically, adverb
Synonyms
2. See magic.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for necromantical

necromancy

/ˈnɛkrəʊˌmænsɪ/
noun
1.
the art or practice of supposedly conjuring up the dead, esp in order to obtain from them knowledge of the future
2.
black magic; sorcery
Derived Forms
necromancer, noun
necromantic, adjective
Word Origin
C13: (as in sense 1) ultimately from Greek nekromanteia, from nekros corpse; (as in sense 2) from Medieval Latin nigromantia, from Latin niger black, which replaced necro- through folk etymology
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for necromantical

necromancy

n.

c.1300, nygromauncy, "divination by communication with the dead," from Old French nigromancie "magic, necromancy, witchcraft, sorcery," from Medieval Latin nigromantia (13c.), from Latin necromantia "divination from an exhumed corpse," from Greek nekromanteia, from nekros "dead body" (see necro-) + manteia "divination, oracle," from manteuesthai "to prophesy," from mantis "prophet" (see mania). Spelling influenced in Medieval Latin by niger "black," on notion of "black arts." Modern spelling is a mid-16c. correction. Related: Necromantic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for necromantical

necromancy

communication with the dead, usually in order to obtain insight into the future or to accomplish some otherwise impossible task. Such activity was current in ancient times among the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans; in medieval Europe it came to be associated with black (i.e., harmful, or antisocial) magic and was condemned by the church

Learn more about necromancy with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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