from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Divination by the use of a suspended sieve sometimes from tongs or shears. The movement of the sieve when a person's name or word is spoken is interpreted.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Divination by means of a suspended sieve.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An old mode of divination, consisting in suspending a sieve, or fixing it to the point of a pair of shears, then repeating a formula of words and the names of persons suspected of some crime or other act. If the sieve moved when a name was repeated, the person named was deemed guilty.


Ancient Greek koskinomantis, "a diviner using a sieve", from koskinon, "a sieve". (Wiktionary)



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