seven

   Powerful and lucky, like other odd *numbers, and also because it corresponds to the seven *days of the week, themselves derived from the moon's phases in its 28-day cycle. In folk belief, it is linked to the idea of cycles of growth: at 7, a child supposedly reaches 'the age of reason'; at 14, puberty; at 21 (formerly), legal adulthood. In astrology and old medical theory, every seventh year of one's life was a time of crisis, the most dangerous being one's sixty-third year (9 x 7), the 'grand climacteric'. There is still a fairly common idea that in the course of seven years every cell in one's body is renewed.
   In folk magic, seven is less often mentioned than *three or *nine, but does occur; it may be said, for example, that running seven times round a particular *grave will raise a *ghost. A * seventh son (or daughter) was widely credited with healing power.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Seven — Sev en, a. [OE. seven, seoven, seofen, AS. seofon, seofan, seofen; akin to D. zeven, OS., Goth., & OHG. sibun, G. sieben, Icel. sjau, sj[ o], Sw. sju, Dan. syv, Lith. septyni, Russ. seme, W. saith, Gael. seachd, Ir. seacht, L. septem, Gr. ???,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • seven — O.E. seofon, from P.Gmc. *sebun (Cf. O.S. sibun, O.N. sjau, O.Fris. sowen, siugun, Du. zeven, O.H.G. sibun, Ger. sieben), from PIE *septm (Cf. Skt. sapta, Avestan hapta, Hitt. shipta, Gk. hepta, L …   Etymology dictionary

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  • seven — [sev′ən] adj. [ME seoven < OE seofon, akin to Ger sieben < IE base * septṃ > L septem, Gr heptā] totaling one more than six n. 1. the cardinal number between six and eight; 7; VII 2. any group of seven people or things 3. something… …   English World dictionary

  • Seven — Sev en, n. 1. The number greater by one than six; seven units or objects. [1913 Webster] Of every beast, and bird, and insect small, Game sevens and pairs. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. A symbol representing seven units, as 7, or vii. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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