late 14c., divinacioun, "act of foretelling by supernatural or magical means the future, or discovering what is hidden or obscure," from Old French divination (13c.), from Latin divinationem (nominative divinatio) "the power of foreseeing, prediction," noun of action from past-participle stem of divinare, literally "to be inspired by a god," from divinus "of a god," from divus "a god," related to deus "god, deity" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god"). Related: Divinatory.
Divination hath been anciently and fitly divided into artificial and natural; whereof artificial is when the mind maketh a prediction by argument, concluding upon signs and tokens: natural is when the mind hath a presention by an internal power, without the inducement of a sign. [Francis Bacon, "The Advancement of Learning," 1605]
updated on September 10, 2018