Definitions

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

  • n. A shrine consecrated to the worship and consultation of a prophetic deity, as that of Apollo at Delphi.
  • n. A person, such as a priestess, through whom a deity is held to respond when consulted.
  • n. The response given through such a medium, often in the form of an enigmatic statement or allegory.
  • n. A person considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinions.
  • n. An authoritative or wise statement or prediction.
  • n. A command or revelation from God.
  • n. In the Bible, the sanctuary of the Temple.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A shrine dedicated to some prophetic deity.
  • n. A person such as a priest through whom the deity is supposed to respond with prophecy or advice.
  • n. A prophetic response, often enigmatic or allegorical, so given.
  • n. A person considered to be a source of wisdom.
  • n. A theoretical entity capable of answering some collection of questions.
  • v. To utter oracles or prophecies.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The answer of a god, or some person reputed to be a god, to an inquiry respecting some affair or future event, as the success of an enterprise or battle.
  • n. The deity who was supposed to give the answer; also, the place where it was given.
  • n. The communications, revelations, or messages delivered by God to the prophets; also, the entire sacred Scriptures -- usually in the plural.
  • n. The sanctuary, or Most Holy place in the temple; also, the temple itself.
  • n. One who communicates an oracle{1} or divine command; an angel; a prophet.
  • n. Any person reputed uncommonly wise; one whose decisions are regarded as of great authority.
  • n. A wise pronouncement or decision considered as of great authority.
  • intransitive v. To utter oracles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In classical antiquity: An utterance given by a priest or priestess of a god, in the name of the god and, as was believed, by his inspiration, in answer to a human inquiry, usually respecting some future event, as the success of an enterprise or battle, or some proposed line of conduct.
  • n. The deity who was supposed to give such answers to inquiries.
  • n. The place where oracular answers were given; the sanctuary, temple, or adytum whence the supposed supernatural responses proceeded.
  • n. Hence, by extension — The communications, revelations, or instruction delivered by God to or through his prophets: rarely used in the singular: as, the oracles of God; the divine oracles.
  • n. The sanctuary or most holy place in the temple, in which was deposited the ark of the covenant (1 Ki. vi. 19): sometimes used for the temple itself.
  • n. A source or repository of the divine will that may be consulted or drawn upon.
  • n. An uncommonly wise person, whose opinions are of great authority, and whose determinations are not disputed.
  • n. A wise saying or an authoritative decision given by such a person.
  • n. Something that is looked upon as an infallible guide or standard of reference.
  • To utter oracles.

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

  • n. an authoritative person who divines the future
  • n. a shrine where an oracular god is consulted
  • n. a prophecy (usually obscure or allegorical) revealed by a priest or priestess; believed to be infallible

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin ōrāculum, from ōrāre, to speak.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French oracle. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It would not be quite right, I think, to say that the imagery of decay and disease attached to the figure of the oracle represents this corruption, that the sickness of the oracle is crudely symbolic of the wrongness of the society as a whole.

    Archive 2008-02-01

  • Just for one example, the class of problems that can be solved by a Turing Machine that can, in turn, use another Turing Machine as an oracle is more powerful than a single Turing Machine.

    Boing Boing: June 8, 2003 - June 14, 2003 Archives

  • Otters and the Coons and the Muskrats saw them coming, they gave a great shout, for Grandfather Frog is sometimes called the oracle of the

    The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat

  • The name oracle was also applied to the place where such answers were received.

    Story of Aeneas

  • The gods are leaving me. "-- which makes this ultimately a stalling tactic --" You must return, when the next oracle is chosen, to learn more. "

    Archive 2008-02-01

  • The Greeks, who called him Ammon, naturally saw in the god a counterpart to their own Zeus and frequently referred to the oracle as that of Zeus-Ammon.

    Alexander the Great

  • Just to elaborate: The interesting part is what Atom describes as oracle, i.e., the application of the fitness function.

    How to do ID: (1) Find a shark. (2) Jump it. - The Panda's Thumb

  • The so-called oracle of Omaha sees an alarming future.

    CNN Transcript Mar 2, 2009

  • The discovery broke the record for the previous earliest known examples of Chinese characters, the inscribed animal bones and tortoise shells, known as the oracle bones, of the Shang Dynasty 1600 BC-1100 BC, by more than 1,300 years.

    Possible Age of Chinese Writing Pushed Back

  • BLITZER: He's called the oracle of Omaha and many of those who followed Warren Buffett's investments through the years have reaped huge rewards.

    CNN Transcript Oct 2, 2008

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    February 27, 2008