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c.1300, from Old French sorcerie, from sorcier "sorcerer, wizard," from Medieval Latin sortiarius "teller of fortunes by lot; sorcerer," literally "one who influences fate or fortune," from Latin sors (genitive sortis) "lot, fate, fortune" (see sort (n.)).
the practice of malevolent magic, derived from casting lots as a means of divining the future in the ancient Mediterranean world. Some scholars distinguish sorcery from witchcraft by noting that it is learned rather than intrinsic. Other scholars, noting that modern witches claim to learn their craft, suggest that sorcery's intent is always evil and that of witchcraft can be either good or bad. In the early Christian era, the term was applied to any magician or wizard but by the Middle Ages only to those who allegedly practiced magic intended to harm others. In Western popular culture, and in Western children's literature in particular, the sorcerer often assumes a more positive guise.