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[rab-duh-man-see] /ˈræb dəˌmæn si/
divination by means of a rod or wand, especially in discovering ores, springs of water, etc.
Origin of rhabdomancy
1640-50; < Late Greek rhabdomanteía; see rhabdo-, -mancy
Related forms
rhabdomantist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for rhabdomancy


divination for water or mineral ore by means of a rod or wand; dowsing; divining
Derived Forms
rhabdomantist, rhabdomancer, noun
Word Origin
C17: via Late Latin from Late Greek rhabdomanteia, from rhabdos a rod + manteia divination
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 rhabdomancy

1640s, "use of divining rod" (especially to discover ores or underground water), from Greek rhabdos "rod, wand; magic wand; fishing rod; spear-shaft; a staff of office; a rod for chastisement; twig, stick" + manteia "divination, oracle" (see -mancy). Greek rhabdos is from PIE *wer-, base of roots meaning "to turn, bend" (cf. Lithuanian virbas "twig, branch, scion, rod," Latin verbena "leaves and branches of laurel"); see warp (v.); the Greek noun was used to represent Roman fasces. Related: Rhabdomantic

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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