palmistry

palmist, n.
/pah"meuh stree/, n.
the art or practice of telling fortunes and interpreting character from the lines and configurations of the palm of a person's hand.
[1375-1425; late ME pawmestry, equiv. to pawm PALM1 + -estry (orig. obscure; cf. -Y3)]

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Reading of an individual's character and divination of the future by interpreting lines on the palm of the hand.

Palmistry may have originated in ancient India, and it was probably from their original Indian home that the traditional fortune-telling of the Gypsies was derived. It was also practiced in China, Tibet, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and ancient Greece. In medieval Europe it was used to discover witches, who were thought to have pigmentation spots as signs of a pact with the devil. Though palmistry is still practiced, there is no known scientific basis for it.

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also called  chiromancy  or  chirosophy 
 reading of character and divination of the future by interpretation of lines and undulations on the palm of the hand. The origins of palmistry are uncertain. It may have begun in ancient India and spread from there. It was probably from their original Indian home that the traditional fortune-telling of the Roma (Rom) (Gypsies) was derived. The chiromantic art has been known in China, Tibet, Persia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt, and it underwent significant development in ancient Greece. Medieval palmistry was pressed into service by the witch-hunters, who interpreted pigmentation spots as signs of a pact with the Devil. After a period of disrepute, palmistry flourished again in the Renaissance. In the 17th century, attempts were made to develop empirical and rational foundations for its basic principles. After a second ebb, during the Enlightenment, it underwent a popular revival in the 19th century with the work of Casimir d'Arpentigny, Louis Hamon (byname Cheiro), and William Benham. In the 20th century, palmistry received renewed attention and interpretation by, among others, followers of Carl Jung (Jung, Carl).

      Although there is no scientific support for the contention that the physical features observed in palmistry have psychic or occult predictive meaning, the human hand does show evidence of the person's health, cleanliness, and occupational and nervous habits (e.g., as evidenced by calluses or nail-biting). Hands are routinely examined in medical diagnosis and provide clues with which the palmist may often astound the unsophisticated.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Palmistry — Pal mis*try, n. [See {Palmister}.] 1. The art or practice of divining or telling fortunes, or of judging of character, by the lines and marks in the palm of the hand; chiromancy. Ascham. Cowper. [1913 Webster] 2. A dexterous use or trick of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • palmistry — (n.) divination from the palm of the hand, early 15c., from palme (see PALM (Cf. palm) (n.1)) + obscure second element, perhaps estre (as in M.E. webbestre weaver ) or rie (as in M.E. archerie archery ) …   Etymology dictionary

  • palmistry — ► NOUN ▪ the supposed interpretation of a person s character or prediction of their future by examining the hand. DERIVATIVES palmist noun …   English terms dictionary

  • palmistry — [päm′is trē] n. [altered (by assoc. with PALM2) < ME paumestrie, prob. contr. < paume,PALM2 + maistrie,MASTERY] the supposed telling of a person s character or fortune by interpreting the lines and marks on that person s palm palmist n …   English World dictionary

  • Palmistry — Chirology redirects here. For other uses, see Fingerspelling. The Fortune Teller, by Caravaggio (1594–95; Canvas; Louvre), depicting a palm reading Palmistry or chiromancy (also spelled cheiromancy, Greek kheir (χεῖρ, ός), “hand”; manteia… …   Wikipedia

  • palmistry — [[t]pɑ͟ːmɪstri[/t]] N UNCOUNT Palmistry is the practice and art of trying to find out what people are like and what will happen in their future life by examining the lines on the palms of their hands …   English dictionary

  • palmistry — noun Etymology: Middle English pawmestry, probably from paume palm + maistrie mastery Date: 15th century the art or practice of reading a person s character or future from the lines on the palms …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • palmistry — noun Telling fortunes from the lines on the palms of the hand; chiromancy Syn: chiromancy, palm reading See Also: palmist, palmister …   Wiktionary

  • PALMISTRY —    the art of reading character from the lines and marks on the palm of the hand, according to which some pretend to read fortunes as well …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • palmistry — (Roget s IV) n. Syn. chiRomancy, fortunetelling, prediction, prophecy; see divination , forecast …   English dictionary for students

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