One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Divination by the navel, especially the art or practice of divining the number of future children a woman is to have by counting the number of knots on the umbilical cord of a baby born to her (obsolete rare); (in extended use) the art or skill of predicting or estimating numbers of people (rare).
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in John Gaule (1603/4–1687), Church of England clergyman and author. From omphalo- + -mancy; compare French † omphalomantie, omphalomancie.
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