divination by means of the cracks in a shoulder-blade put into a fire, 1871, from combining form of scapula + -mancy "divination by means of." Related: Scapulimantic.
With haruspication may be classed the art of divining by bones, as where North American Indians would put in the fire a certain flat bone of a porcupine, and judge from its colour if the porcupine-hunt would be successful. The principal art of this kind is divination by a shoulder-blade, technically called scapulimancy or omoplatoscopy. This is especially found in vogue in Tartary, where it is ancient, and whence it may have spread into all other countries where we hear of it. [Edward B. Tylor, "Primitive Culture," 1871]
updated on January 20, 2022
Dictionary entries near scapulimancy