Thursday, April 25, 2013


Meaning: Divination by belly button; apparently inspection of a baby's navel can reveal the number of children the mother will bear, although there's another theory that this originally involved counting the number of knots in the umbilical cord.

Usefulness: 1 (Forget numbers of children, it's terribly useful to have a word for the outcome of omphaloskepsis* - consideration of one's navel. "How did you arrive at this result, Jenkins?" "It took considerable omphalomancy, sir, but we go there in the end.")

Logofascination: 2 (I like this almost as much as tyromancy, but etymologically it's just the Greek for navel and -mancy.)

In the wild:  Not really, but someone has helpfully compiled a montage of bellybuttons for Wikipedia.

Degrees: 2

Connections: Omphalomancy - capnomancy

Which is used in: the -mancy chapter; this is the last -mancy from this chapter and for this blog**, but the final one is a bit boring so I thought I'd write up one of the more interesting ones I found along the way, and omphalomancy qualified.  The final -mancy from Book the Third, XXV: How Panurge consulteth Herr Trippa is... 
By capnomancy. O the gallantest and most excellent of all secrets!
Capnomancy is divination by smoke, a synonym for libanomancy.

*The OED's first citation for omphaloskepsis is a Mr A. Huxley.

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