Oracle Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

The word oracle has a long and culturally fascinating history in languages from all across the world. This is oracle’s meaning and how to use it!

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The word oracle has a fascinating history in religion. For many years, oracles were seen as an infallible authority with revelations from gods trying to lead them with their divine command. While the validity of their prophecies and predictions might be a little bit questionable in the modern world, the legacy of oracles continues to live on today. 

Sometimes, the biggest key to understanding the present meaning of a word is to figure out what it meant in the past. Here is everything you need to know about the word oracle — what it means, what it meant then, and where it came from. 

What Does the Word Oracle Mean? 

According to the English language dictionary, an oracle is a person who seems to have lots of knowledge or wisdom. When people are trying to figure out what to do in future events, they will often consult oracles for a wise statement to help them move forward. 

Today’s definition is closely related to the historical role of oracles. In many ancient Greek cities, including Delphi, Didyma, and the islands of Delos, the oracles were typically seers, priests, or priestesses. They were found at the shrine of a god-like Apollo or Zeus, and people would go to them for predictions of the future. People believed that the gods would speak through these oracles, and nearly every word from them was seen as a form of divination. 

People would go to them for all kinds of reasons, from like precognition of the future, learning the oracles of a god, receiving a prophetic response to a prayer, or inquiring about the success of an enterprise. 

The actual answer and response of the oracle were also known as an oracle. For example, people would receive oracles from a prophet. It’s a little confusing, but it makes more sense in context. 

Where Does the Word Oracle Come From? 

When it comes to the actual etymology of the word oracle, it has an exciting journey through several different languages, including Greek, Latin, and Anglo-French. 

The earliest versions of the Latin words are ōrā, and the Latin verb ōrāre or are, which mean “speak.” This was ascribing meaning to the fact that these people could speak the answer of a god as a response to a human inquiry. As time went on, the word became the Latin ōrāculum, which had essentially the same meaning. 

As time went on, the Latin oracle was brought into Old French, retaining both the ancient and modern meanings of the word. As time went on, it was introduced into Middle English as the world oracle we know today. The word oration came from that word as a word that describes speaking in a very upstanding and full of honor. 

What Is the History of the Oracle? 

The consultation of a prophetic deity was deemed essential for almost all predictive opinions throughout ancient times. The views of these prophets and prophetesses were held with divine authority, and their opinions even helped to launch the careers of Socrates and Plato. Even though gods have since become seen as just a theoretical entity, they still had tremendous importance in the ancient world. 

Sometimes, people found oracles in places other than a holy place with a prophetic person. In some cases, bird signs were ways that people would receive divine oracles from the gods. It may seem confusing in the modern world that a bird could be a trusted source of wise counsel, but at the same time, these seers were seen as capable of imparting divine relevations through their work. 

At the end of the day, the idea of a god speaking through the medium of a priest or priestess was understood to be commonplace. People trusted them with their futures, and their influence significantly impacted people’s lives in ancient times. 

What Does Oracle Mean in the Modern World? 

Today, most people don’t generally believe in prophecies in the same way that people did back in the day. So, instead of an oracle being someone with a divine voice from a god, they tend to be someone with the uncanny ability to make good decisions. This can come from many years of experience, excellent luck, or even just access to lots of information. 

Oracle is sometimes replaced with the words guru, master, angel, or artisan. If you’re looking for someone who will give you a lot of insight into the best way to do something, ask around for someone who is an oracle on whatever subject you’re debating! They are people that just seem to know exactly what they are doing and have the know-how to make things happen in the best way possible. 


If you want to learn how to use words in the most up-to-date and effective way possible, try taking a look around our blog here at The Word Counter! We’re constantly putting up new articles intended to demystify some of the most confusing and unclear words in the English language. This article is just one of many more planned to make the English language more approachable and understandable. We want to enable you to use language to enhance your own communication in the modern world! 

Just taking a few minutes to browse through our articles can teach you some critical information that has the potential to entirely change your ability to communicate! 


  1. Oracle Definition & Meaning | Britannica Dictionary
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  3. Oracle – Definition, Meaning & Synonyms |