Etymology
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divine (adj.)

late 14c., "pertaining to, of the nature of, or proceeding from God or a god; addressed to God," from Old French divin, devin (12c.), from Latin divinus "of a god," from divus "of or belonging to a god, inspired, prophetic," related to deus "god, deity" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god").

Weakened sense of "excellent in the highest degree, heavenly" had evolved by late 15c. The phrase divine right, indicating one conferred by or based on ordinance of God, is from c. 1600.

divine (v.)

late 14c., divinen, "learn or make out by or as if by divination, foretell" future events (trans.), also intransitive, "use or practice divination;" from Old French deviner, from Vulgar Latin *devinare, a dissimilation of Latin divinare "foresee, foretell, predict," from divinus "of a god," from divus "of or belonging to a god, inspired, prophetic," which is related to deus "god, deity" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god").

Latin divinus also meant, as a noun, "soothsayer." English divine (v.) is also attested from late 14c. in the sense of "make out by observations or otherwise; make a guess or conjecture" without reference to supernatural insight. The earliest English sense is "to contrive, plot" (mid-14c.). Related: Divined; divining. Divining rod (or wand) is attested from 1650s.

divine (n.)

c. 1300, "soothsayer, sorcerer, astrologer," from Old French devin "soothsayer; theologian" and directly from Latin divinus, "soothsayer, augur," noun use of an adjective meaning "of or belonging to a god," from divus "of or belonging to a god, inspired, prophetic," related to deus "god, deity" (from PIE root *dyeu- "to shine," in derivatives "sky, heaven, god").

Meaning "ecclesiastic, theologian, man skilled in divinity" is from late 14c. Sense of "divine nature, divineness" is from late 14c.

updated on June 15, 2022

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