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pythoness female soothsayer, witch. XIV. ME. phitones(se) — OF. phitonise (mod. pythonisse) — medL. phītōnissa, for late L. pȳthōnissa (Vulg., 1 Chron. 10: 13), fem. of pȳthō (Deut. 18: 11) — late Gr. pū́thōn (Acts 16: 16), identical with pū́thōn PYTHON; assim. to the L. form; see -ESS1.

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pythoness a female soothsayer or conjuror of spirits. Recorded from Middle English, the term comes via Old French from late Latin pythonissa, based on Greek puthōn ‘soothsaying’.