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Delphic: WordWednesdayFun

Delphic is a word that was aimed at me while I was still a barrister in London. The bewigged judge said to the bewigged barrister (me), “Hmm, Mr. Bentley, it is unlike you to be delphic. There must be good reason for it so I will grant you your adjournment. We will sit again in one hour from now.”

I had to look it up. I had no idea what it meant.

Here is what Merriam-Webster has to say about the word:


adjective Del·phic \ˈdel-fik\
Popularity: Bottom 40% of words
: of or relating to ancient Delphi or its oracle
often not capitalized : ambiguous, obscure <Delphic utterances>
delphically  adverb

Examples in a sentence
<the Delphic pronouncements that are so typical of many stock market prognosticators>

First Known Use 

Related to delphic

ambiguous, arcane, cryptic, dark, deep, obscure, double-edged, elliptical (or elliptic), enigmatic (also enigmatical), equivocal, fuliginous, inscrutable, murky, mysterious, mystic, nebulous, occult, opaque
accessible, clear, nonambiguous, obvious, plain, unambiguous, unequivocal
Related Words
abstruse, esoteric, recondite; cloaked, concealed, disguised, masked, shrouded; beclouded, bedimmed, befogged, clouded, cloudy, dim, faint, foggy, fuzzy, hazy, indistinct, indistinguishable, misty, muddy, obfuscatory, obnubilated, obscurant (or obscurantic), shaded, shadowlike, shadowy, sphinxlike; indefinite, inexact, inexplicit, noncommittal, questionable, unclear, uncertain, undefined, undetermined, vague; impenetrable, incomprehensible, indecipherable, inexplicable; eerie (also eery), uncanny, weird; impalpable, inappreciable, intangible, invisible; unanswerable, unknowable; baffling, bewildering, confounding, confusing, mystifying, perplexing, puzzling, unfathomable; circuitous, indirect, roundabout; complex, complicated, difficult, obtuse

Below is the most recent Facebook comment left on the page:

Kim M Smith-Annese · Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
I’m reading a May 20, 1974 issue of Times concerning the Watergate tapes. “Nixon makes a truly Delphic utterance”
Like · Reply · May 27, 2016 9:40am

For the sake of being complete, I include the Urban Dictionary definition but I refrain from making any comment.


precinct of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. According to a late source, her mother was Lamia, daughter of Poseidon1. The Delphic Sibyl was not involved in the operation of the Delphic Oracle and should be considered distinct from the Pythia, the priestess of Apollo.
There are several, not necessarily consistent, legends about the Delphic Sibyl, one claims that her last prophecy was said to be the birth of Jesus Christ. *Pausanias claimed (10.14.1) that the Sibyl was “born between man and goddess, daughter of sea monsters and an immortal nymph”. Others said she was the sister or daughter of Apollo.
The Sibyl came from the Troad to Delphi before the Trojan War, “in wrath with her brother Apollo”, lingered for a time at Samos, visited Claros and Delos, and died in the Troad, after surviving nine generations of men. After her death, it was said that she became a wandering voice that still brought to the ears of men tidings of the future wrapped in dark riddles.
#martin azari #delphic #oracle #sybil #mythology
by Martin Azari October 16, 2006


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