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familiar spirit definitions

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

n
1: a spirit (usually in animal form) that acts as an assistant to a witch or wizard [syn: familiar, familiar spirit]

Merriam Webster's

noun Date: 1565 1. a spirit or demon that serves or prompts an individual 2. the spirit of a dead person invoked by a medium to advise or prophesy

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Familiar Fa*mil`iar, a. [OE. familer, familier, F. familier, fr. L. familiaris, fr. familia family. See Family.] 1. Of or pertaining to a family; domestic. ``Familiar feuds.'' --Byron. 2. Closely acquainted or intimate, as a friend or companion; well versed in, as any subject of study; as, familiar with the Scriptures. 3. Characterized by, or exhibiting, the manner of an intimate friend; not formal; unconstrained; easy; accessible. ``In loose, familiar strains.'' --Addison. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. --Shak. 4. Well known; well understood; common; frequent; as, a familiar illustration. That war, or peace, or both at once, may be As things acquainted and familiar to us. --Shak. There is nothing more familiar than this. --Locke. 5. Improperly acquainted; wrongly intimate. --Camden. Familiar spirit, a demon or evil spirit supposed to attend at call. --1 Sam. xxviii. 3, 7-9.

Easton's Bible Dictionary

Sorcerers or necormancers, who professed to call up the dead to answer questions, were said to have a "familiar spirit" (Deut. 18:11; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chr. 33:6; Lev. 19:31; 20:6; Isa. 8:19; 29:4). Such a person was called by the Hebrews an _'ob_, which properly means a leathern bottle; for sorcerers were regarded as vessels containing the inspiring demon. This Hebrew word was equivalent to the pytho of the Greeks, and was used to denote both the person and the spirit which possessed him (Lev. 20:27; 1 Sam. 28:8; comp. Acts 16:16). The word "familiar" is from the Latin familiaris, meaning a "household servant," and was intended to express the idea that sorcerers had spirits as their servants ready to obey their commands.




 


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