Definitions

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

  • n. Divination by means of a wand or rod, especially for discovering underground water or ores.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Divination with a wand or rod; dowsing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Same as rabdomancy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Divination by a rod or wand; specifically, the attempt to discover things concealed in the earth, as ores, metals, or springs of water, by a divining-rod; bletonism; dousing.

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

  • n. searching for underground water or minerals by using a dowsing rod

Etymologies

Late Greek rhabdomanteia : Greek rhabdos, rod; see wer-2 in Indo-European roots + Greek -manteia, -mancy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested in 1646. From Latin rhabdomantīa, from Ancient Greek ῥαβδομαντεία (rhabdomanteia), from ῥάβδος (rhabdos, "rod") + μαντεία (manteia, "divination"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • 98 We have not heard the last of this old “dowsing rod”: the latest form of rhabdomancy is an electrical-rod invented in the United

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • If it does, revoke, O student, your shrill _eheu_ for the Greekless and untrousered savage of the canoe, suppress your feelings, and go steadily into rhabdomancy with several divining-rods, in search of the Pierian spring which must surely exist somewhere among the guttural districts of the Ojibbeway tongue.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 07, No. 40, February, 1861

  • This deceptio visus, or product of rhabdomancy, easily effected by an adept of the

    The Valley of Decision

  • But our village friend, though perhaps constructively right in his philosophizing, was certainly very defective in his acquaintance with the time-honoured art of rhabdomancy.

    Myths and Myth-makers: Old Tales and Superstitions Interpreted by Comparative Mythology

  • I refer to such organic forces as are popularly summed up under the words clairvoyance, mesmerism, rhabdomancy, animal magnetism, physical spiritualism.

    The Myths of the New World A Treatise on the Symbolism and Mythology of the Red Race of America

  • [FN#98] We have not heard the last of this old "dowsing rod": the latest form of rhabdomancy is an electrical-rod invented in the

    Arabian nights. English

  • Agreeably to the doctrines of rhabdomancy, formerly in vogue, and at the present moment not entirely discarded, a twig, usually of witchhazle, borne over the surface of the ground, indicates the presence of water to which it is instinctively alive, by stirring in the hand.

    Margaret

  • It is not water, but treasures which they profess to find by some hidden kind of rhabdomancy.

    Narrative and Miscellaneous Papers

  • Rhabdomantic: "related to rhabdomancy" ( "divination by means of a rod or wand; spec. a technique for searching for underground water, minerals, etc.; dowsing").

    Orange Crate Art

  • But after sinking to a greater depth than ever had been known before, and spending nearly £200, they were finally obliged to consult the jowser, who found water at once.] a class of men who practise the Pagan rhabdomancy in a limited sense.

    Narrative and Miscellaneous Papers

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