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[sey-ahns] /ˈseɪ ɑns/
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
Can be confused
science, séance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for seance
  • 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.
British Dictionary definitions for seance


/ˈseɪɑ̃ns; -ɑːns/
a meeting at which spiritualists attempt to receive messages from the spirits of the dead
a meeting of a society
Word Origin
C19: from French, literally: a sitting, from Old French seoir to sit, from Latin sedēre
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 seance

1789, "sitting, session," as of a learned society, from French séance "a sitting," from seoir "to sit," from Latin sedere (see sedentary). Meaning "spiritualistic session" first recorded 1845.

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

(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

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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