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witchcraft

n.

1. the supposed use of magical powers and practices, particularly to cause harm to other people or their property, including crops and livestock. In Christian countries, witches were believed to derive their powers from a pact with the devil, whom they worshipped in orgiastic rites known as witches’ sabbaths. Such beliefs led to outbreaks of fanatical persecution in the 16th and 17th centuries (so-called witch hysteria or witch mania), in which the great majority of the victims were women (especially poor, old, and illiterate women). Belief in the power of witchcraft remains prevalent in many traditional societies (notably in Africa).

2. a neopagan religion revolving around reverence for nature and goddess worship. Also called Wicca.

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Psychology term of the day

June 18th 2024

arbitration

arbitration

n. a method of settling controversies in which the parties involved present their arguments and supporting information to an impartial agent, such as a judge or, in a labor dispute, an arbitrator or arbitration board. By mutual agreement, the arbiter’s decision is final. This process is distinguished from mediation, in which the outside agent (the mediator or conciliator) seeks to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement. —arbitrate vb.