Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


[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.
Origin of séance
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. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for seance
Historical Examples
  • Patience is necessary in conducting a seance, and perseverance is essential.

  • This is the first seance I have ever taken part in, but I must believe now.'

    Echoes of the War J. M. Barrie
  • At this juncture a smothered giggle from the darkened Gipsy wagon came near breaking up the seance.

  • The seance is of old and elder men, of whom Socrates is the youngest.

    Laches Plato
  • One night at a seance I saw my little step-daughter who had been dead many years.

    On a Donkey's Hurricane Deck R. Pitcher Woodward
  • Then there was a seance held last night in the little salon!

    At the Villa Rose A. E. W. Mason
  • At the termination of the seance, the spirit-voice said, 'We are going'.

  • It was interesting, too, to know that there had been a seance planned for that night!

    At the Villa Rose A. E. W. Mason
  • After the seance, we lighted up the room, opened the window, and M. Meurice again tried to move the sealing-wax.

  • The ending of this afternoon seance had been a great shock to the young man.

    Painted Veils James Huneker
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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for séance

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for seance

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for seance