Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One of a number of women regarded as oracles or prophets by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
  • n. A woman prophet.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A pagan female oracle or prophetess, especially the Cumaean sibyl.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A woman supposed to be endowed with a spirit of prophecy.
  • n. A female fortune teller; a pythoness; a prophetess.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In anc. myth., one of certain women reputed to possess special powers of prophecy or divination and intercession with the gods in behalf of those who resorted to them.
  • n. Hence An old woman professing to be a prophetess or fortune-teller; a sorceress.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (ancient Rome) a woman who was regarded as an oracle or prophet
  • n. a woman who tells fortunes

Etymologies

Middle English sibile, from Old French, from Latin Sibylla, from Greek Sibulla.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin Sibylla, from Ancient Greek Σίβυλλα. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But who does not know that the power of the sibyl is doubled by the opposition of sex?

    Oldtown Folks

  • The group of rappellers, called Operation Sibyl - in ancient Greece, a sibyl was a fortuneteller - but also known as the Plaza Four, said they had had a tough 25 hours in jail before they were arraigned on felony and misdemeanor charges of assault, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass.

    Archive 2004-08-01

  • He beckoned to them, and while he went from one to another, saying: "The sibyl was my mother -- Zorrillo has murdered my mother," the coffin was borne into the house.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Georg Ebers Works

  • This corpse, this woman -- proclaim it to every one -- the sibyl was my mother yes, yes, my own mother!

    Complete Project Gutenberg Georg Ebers Works

  • It seemed to him that among the Christians Lygia was a kind of sibyl or priestess whom they surrounded with obedience and honor; and he yielded himself also to that honor.

    Quo Vadis: a narrative of the time of Nero

  • Along the way, he meets a sibyl named Hahn who is unable to go herself but would like someone to find her daughter, another sibyl who ran away to World's End.

    Archive 2010-04-01

  • But no lightbulbs appeared over my head, no sibyl sang her song for me.

    Songs of Love & Death

  • The eternally young, fertile bride; the ancient, barren spinster; the siren; the sibyl—she was all these things, all at once, his beloved, the one for whom he denied himself the companionship of mere mortal company, against whom even the breathtaking Muriel Chanler paled.

    The Curse of the Wendigo

  • Jo Graham is the author of Black Ships, a retelling of the Aeneid from the point of view of the sibyl, and the upcoming Hand of Isis, to be published in March 2009.

    MIND MELD: Speculative Fiction Books Worth Reading Twice

  • But anyone can grasp the timeless stereotype of the woman who speaks for natural forces: the siren, the sibyl, or the witch.

    The Spartacus War

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Comments

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  • In many cases supernatural, mythical beings or humans born of such beings who have the gift or curse of prophesy.

    February 18, 2008

  • August 13, 2007