[awr-uh-kuh l, or-] /ˈɔr ə kəl, ˈɒr-/

(especially in ancient Greece) an utterance, often ambiguous or obscure, given by a priest or priestess at a shrine as the response of a god to an inquiry.
the agency or medium giving such responses.
a shrine or place at which such responses were given:
the oracle of Apollo at Delphi.
a person who delivers authoritative, wise, or highly regarded and influential pronouncements.
a divine communication or revelation.
any person or thing serving as an agency of divine communication.
any utterance made or received as authoritative, extremely wise, or infallible.
oracles, the Scriptures.
the holy of holies of the Temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem. I Kings 6:16, 19–23.
plural noun
another term for Scripture (sense 1)
a prophecy, often obscure or allegorical, revealed through the medium of a priest or priestess at the shrine of a god
a shrine at which an oracular god is consulted
an agency through which a prophecy is transmitted
any person or thing believed to indicate future action with infallible authority
a statement believed to be infallible and authoritative


late 14c., “a message from a god, expressed by divine inspiration,” from Old French oracle “temple, house of prayer; oracle” (12c.) and directly from Latin oraculum “divine announcement, oracle; place where oracles are given,” from orare “pray, plead” (see orator), with material instrumental suffix -culo-. In antiquity, “the agency or medium of a god,” also “the place where such divine utterances were given.” This sense is attested in English from c.1400.

In the Old Testament used in every case, except 2 Sam. 16:23, to denote the most holy place in the temple (1 Kings 6:5, 19-23; 8:6). In 2 Sam. 16:23 it means the Word of God. A man inquired “at the oracle of God” by means of the Urim and Thummim in the breastplate on the high priest’s ephod. In the New Testament it is used only in the plural, and always denotes the Word of God (Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, etc.). The Scriptures are called “living oracles” (comp. Heb. 4:12) because of their quickening power (Acts 7:38).


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