he loves me, he loves me not...


When a girl is trying to determine how a boy she fancies feels towards her by plucking flower petals chanting “He loves me, he loves me not”, what do we call this behaviour/act?

How can I finish the following sentence to show this act?


I think they’re called ‘counting out’ rhymes, and I’ve also heard the term ‘choosing up’ rhymes.

Hello Cantik,

The process is “anthomancy” (divination by flowers).

You might finish it thus:

  1. She sits by the window picking the petals from a flower one by one.

All the best,


Why did you choose “picking” over “plucking”?

Petals offer little or no resistance.


And maybe it suits a girl or her conduct more, IMHO.

So can I say “She sits by the window, picking flowers, counting out rhymes” and people are supposed to understand that she is saying “He loves me, he loves me not”?

I assume that by saying this people would understand that she is doing the process of anthomancy.

Good question! Thanks, Molly!

Good point!

Thanks again, people! You guys have been very helpful! :smiley:

No, that would sound like she’s doing 2 things, picking flowers, and counting rhymes (as in 1 rhyme, 2 rhymes, 3 rhymes, etc.)

Again, very few people would know what the term anthomancy even means, without using a dictionary. Even my spell checker is given me the evil red line under that word. They’re not going to associate that word with that rhyme.

I can’t think of a neat single word that’s going to tell people what she’s doing. If you want to make it clear that she’s singing that rhyme, then you’re going to have to write that rhyme out.

There’s no direct relationship between the process of anthomancy and that rhyme. Technically, she’s performing anthomancy by doing that act, but there are probably dozens of other methods of performing anthomancy.

It’s a rather obscure technical term, and only somebody who is really involved with the paranormal, witchcraft, magic, or a practitioner of related fields would know any of them.

The suffix ‘-mancy’ just means ‘divination’, and there are dozens if not hundreds of types of ‘-mancy’. Pick what you want to look at, and there’s probably a ‘-mancy’ for it, all of them probably equally as effective as the next. :slight_smile:

For example:
kephalonomancy - Divination in which lighted carbon was poured on the baked head of a goat as the names of those who were accused of crimes were called out. If crackling occurred as a name was called, it was assumed that the accused was guilty. The head of an ass was also used.

ailuromancy - Divination as determined by the way a cat jumps.

cheiromancy -Divination by inspection of people’s hands

spatalamancy - Divination by the observation of animal droppings or feces

halomancy - Divination with the use of salt by interpretation of the shapes which are formed after salt is thrown on a surface or by throwing salt into flames and observing the nature of the flames, their color, speed, and direction.

The list goes on and on. In fact, here’s another list of ‘mancies’

Yes, Skrej. It made me wonder, what kind of a person would know that word. He has to be some sort of a scholar… :slight_smile: I had fun though, trying to break down the word. And thanks for extra list. Don’t think I’m going to remember them by heart. Lucky we have the dictionary :lol:

So can I say it using the verb “divine” I just learned, like this:

Sadly, I think it sounds weird.

I think both of those are fine sentences. People might even associate the rhyme with those sentences, without being reminded of the rhyme. It would probably boil down to how familiar they are with the rhyme, and whether or not they ever did it as a kid.

You could shorten it a bit by leaving out ‘the’ before petals. However, I like the sound of ‘plucking’ versus ‘picking’ better. It sounds more desperate. :slight_smile:

Oh, good to hear.

Yeah, that’s how it’s usually done anyway. :lol: (Not that I ever had the experience of doing it…:D)

I see. So “picking” is the more common collocation in that context, is it?

I’d say this:

She sits by the window, flower in hand, caught up in her loves-me-loves-me-not divination.

That is really good. Once again, thanks Molly. :smiley:

No problem.