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an ancient form of divination, using a rooster to select grains of food placed on letters of the alphabet.

“divination by means of a cock and grains of corn,” 1680s, from Latinized form of Greek alektryon “cock” + manteia “oracle” (see -mancy). The first element is literally “warder-off, fighter,” related to alexein “to ward off, drive or keep off” (see Alexander). And cf. Alekto, one of the three Furies.


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  • Alee

    upon or toward the lee side of a vessel; away from the wind (opposed to ). Historical Examples And upon this, ‘alee Noor-ed-Deen landed with his slave-girl, and gave the master five pieces of gold. The Thousand and One Nights, Vol. I. Anonymous “alee samee, Sherm did the business, Carol,” retorted Ernest. Chicken Little Jane […]

  • Alef

    alef language A programming language from Bell Labs. ALEF boasts few new ideas but is instead a careful synthesis of ideas from other languages. The result is a practical general purpose programming language which was once displacing C as their main implementation language. Both shared variables and message passing are supported through language constructs. A […]

  • Alegar

    vinegar made from ; sour ale. Historical Examples Johnson, worshipful Sirs: alegar, of Thorpe, that you have sentenced this morrow. The King’s Daughters Emily Sarah Holt alegar is malt vinegar; the word vinegar was then used only of white wine vinegar. The King’s Daughters Emily Sarah Holt noun malt vinegar

  • Alegrete

    a city in SW Brazil.

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