late 14c., "a message from a god, expressed by divine inspiration," from Old French oracle "temple, house of prayer; oracle" (12c.) and directly from Latin oraculum "divine announcement, oracle; place where oracles are given," from orare "pray, plead" (see orator), with material instrumental suffix -culo-. In antiquity, "the agency or medium of a god," also "the place where such divine utterances were given." This sense is attested in English from c. 1400.
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