a meeting in which a spiritualist attempts to communicate with the spirits of the dead.
a session or sitting, as of a class or organization.

1795–1805; < French: session, equivalent to sé-, base of seoir to sit1 (< Latin sedēre) + -ance -ance

science, séance.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To seance
World English Dictionary
seance or séance (ˈseɪɑ̃ns, -ɑːns, ˈseɪɑ̃ns, -ɑːns)
1.  a meeting at which spiritualists attempt to receive messages from the spirits of the dead
2.  a meeting of a society
[C19: from French, literally: a sitting, from Old French seoir to sit, from Latin sedēre]
séance or séance
[C19: from French, literally: a sitting, from Old French seoir to sit, from Latin sedēre]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1789, "sitting, session," as of a learned society, from Fr. séance "a sitting," from seoir "to sit," from L. sedere (see sit). Meaning "spiritualistic session" first recorded 1845.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


(French: "sitting"), in occultism, meeting centred on a medium (q.v.), who seeks to communicate with spirits of the dead. Because strong light is said to hinder communication, a seance usually takes place in darkness or subdued light. It generally involves six or eight persons, who normally form a circle and hold hands

Learn more about seance with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
His current target is a gang of slicksters who are running a successful seance racket.
As to dead languages, to my knowledge, only a séance claims to speak and hear them.
Through replication, he also exposed as fraudulent the field of seance magic.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature