abracadabra

EnglishEdit

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EtymologyEdit

From Late Latin abracadabra, a word used in magical writings, of uncertain origin. Relationships have been suggested with Abraxas (a Gnostic deity), and with various Aramaic or Hebrew terms (עַבְדָא כְּדַ ברָא, avda ked vara; “what was said has been done”; עבראכדברא, avra kedavra; “what has said has come to pass”; ארבע-אחד-ארבע when it is read from right to left [1]), but there is little supporting evidence.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

abracadabra (plural abracadabras)

  1. A use of the mystical term ‘abracadabra’, supposed to work as part of a healing charm or a magical spell; any spell or incantation making use of the word. [from 16th c.]
    • 2012, Georgina Turner, The Guardian, 28 Aug 2012:
      With a quiet bank holiday afternoon to fill, the Mill yesterday dug out the old magic kit, brushed the cobwebs off its top hat and practiced a few abracadabras.
  2. Mumbo-jumbo; obscure language or technicalities; jargon. [from 19th c.]
    I don’t know all the theoretical abracadabra about how it works, I’m only its pilot.
    • 1971, Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, p. 335:
      Astrology was not specifically banned in the statutes against witchcraft, but so long as its technicalities remained abracadabra to the lay public there was always a risk that the practitioner might find himself arrested for sorcery.

TranslationsEdit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

InterjectionEdit

abracadabra

  1. Used to indicate that a magic trick or other illusion has been performed. [from 19th c.]

TranslationsEdit


FrenchEdit

InterjectionEdit

abracadabra

  1. abracadabra

Derived termsEdit

NounEdit

abracadabra m (plural abracadabras)

  1. An unspecified magical formula.
  2. (historical) A mystical word from kabbalism.

PortugueseEdit

InterjectionEdit

abracadabra

  1. abracadabra (used to indicate that a magic trick or other illusion has been performed)
Last modified on 9 April 2014, at 13:58