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Oct 27, 2010
This week's theme
Words made with combining forms

This week's words
ventriloquism
posology
onomancy
hagiolatry
misogamy

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

onomancy

PRONUNCIATION:
(ON-uh-man-see)

MEANING:
noun: Divination by the letters of a name.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek onoma- (name) + -mancy (divination). Earliest recorded use: 1603.

NOTES:
Some parents name their children after careful consideration of onomancy to ensure the best possible future for them. Some people alter the spelling of their names or adopt a new name in an effort to bring good fortune. Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov wrote a short story, "Spell My Name with an S", with this theme. The story was inspired by his frustration in having to ask people to spell his name (pronounced AZ-uh-mof) correctly.

USAGE:
"Kaplan and Bernays taught me all sorts of unexpected things about my name. They inspired me to try my hand at alphanumeric onomancy, in which the letters of a name are assigned numerical value, then added up to reveal occult facts about its owner."
Adam Goodheart; Naming Names: An Appellation Spring; The Washington Post; Feb 3, 1997.

See more usage examples of onomancy in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The walls of books around him, dense with the past, formed a kind of insulation against the present world and its disasters. -Ross Macdonald, novelist (1915-1983)

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