Definition of sibyl in US English:

sibyl

noun

  • 1A woman in ancient times supposed to utter the oracles and prophecies of a god.

    • ‘These centrally located narratives are surrounded by alternating images of prophets and sibyls on marble thrones, by other Old Testament subjects and by the ancestors of Christ.’
    • ‘In 1512-13 Raphael painted above the entrance arch of the Chigi chapel in S. Maria del Popolo a fresco with sibyls and prophets.’
    • ‘I have a chapter on Shakespeare and Macbeth; there's the chapter about Ancient Greece, a chapter about Delphi and sibyls in Grecian-Roman times.’
    • ‘As they were thought to have made prophecies in pagan times, the classic sibyls are shown just above and below the central panels.’
    • ‘Droitture explains that her first stones are the sibyls and female prophets; as exemplars of prudent wisdom and fore - sight, they demonstrate that God has entrusted his secrets to faithful and devoted women.’
    • ‘Carstens's Necessity is generally reminiscent of Michelangelo's sibyls, more specifically perhaps of the elderly Persica.’
    • ‘The outlaws, aided by an old sibyl, defeat the castle's forces, and it burns to the ground.’
    • ‘The opposite of an oracle in many ways is a sibyl.’
    • ‘She is a story teller and through telling stories discovers new meanings, like the ancient forerunners of her profession - the pythonesses, abbesses and sibyls who ‘revealed mysteries’.’
    • ‘They inquire of ancient apocalyptic books and oracles, of sibyls and divines, who remembered the future and predicted it in the past: an exercise in retroactive foresight.’
    • ‘Looking on are the prophets and sibyls, the mysterious seers of man's tragedy.’
    • ‘The three sibyls of the title reminded James that they had once prophesied endless dominion to Banquo's descendants, and saluted him in turn with the words ‘Hail, thou who rulest Scotland!’’
    1. 1.1literary A woman able to foretell the future.

Origin

From Old French Sibile or medieval Latin Sibilla, via Latin from Greek Sibulla.

Pronunciation

sibyl

/ˈsɪb(ə)l//ˈsib(ə)l/