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A priest or priestess acting as a medium through whom advice or prophecy was sought from the gods in classical antiquity, or a place at which such advice or prophecy was sought; in extended use, the term may be used for a person or thing regarded as an infallible authority or guide on something. Oracle is also used to denote the response or message provided by such a source, especially one that is ambiguous or obscure.

Recorded from late Middle English, the word comes via Old French from Latin oraculum, from orare ‘speak’.

oracle bones the bones of a ritually-killed animal, carved with script and used in ancient China for divination.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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