Cartomancy

Cartomancy

ˈkärdəˌmansē

Noun

  • Fortunetelling by interpreting a random selection of playing cards.

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Example Sentences

“I’m skeptical of any predictions produced by cartomancy.”

“She ran a shop that sold herbs and candles, but her specialty was cartomancy.”

“My grandmother claimed she had the gift of cartomancy, but I think she stacked her deck.”

Word Origin

French, late 19th century

Why this word?

Fortunetellers can use many tools — candles, incense, a crystal ball — but if they are practicing cartomancy, they’ll have a deck of cards. The word “cartomancy” comes directly from the French “carte,” meaning “card,” and “-mancy,” which is a combining form that implies divination. A standard deck of 52 playing cards includes the suits of clubs, diamonds, spades, and hearts, but if the cartomancy comes from a tarot deck, there are many different styles. Additional suits include wands, cups, swords, and coins, all open to interpretation. 

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