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EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From French prestidigitation, from preste (nimble, quick) +‎ Latin digitus (finger) +‎ -ation (process suffix). The word has a different origin from prestige, even though this in the past has meant “delusion, illusion, trick”.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

prestidigitation (countable and uncountable, plural prestidigitations)

  1. A performance of or skill in performing magic or conjuring tricks with the hands.
    Synonyms: sleight of hand, legerdemain
    My favorite prestidigitation was when he pulled the live dove out of that tiny scarf.
    • 1897, Ethel Turner, The Child of the Children[1]:
      He borrowed another hat and displayed its perfect emptiness; he held up his empty hands: "This is one of the most marvellous bits of prestidigitation known," he said. "You have all seen this hat holds nothing in the world: I will now see if I can extract anything from its emptiness. You can all observe my hands go nowhere but into the hat, and they are both open and turned to you. Yet what is this?"
  2. (by extension) A show of skill or deceitful cleverness.
    Synonyms: sleight of hand, legerdemain
    His writing was peppered with verbal tricks and prestidigitation.
    • 1908, Edith Wharton, The Verdict[2]:
      The more modest place became the picture better; yet, as my eyes grew accustomed to the half-light, all the characteristic qualities came out--all the hesitations disguised as audacities, the tricks of prestidigitation by which, with such consummate skill, he managed to divert attention from the real business of the picture to some pretty irrelevance of detail.

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit


FrenchEdit

EtymologyEdit

prestidigitateur +‎ -tion

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /pʁɛs.ti.di.ʒi.ta.sjɔ̃/
  • (file)

NounEdit

prestidigitation f (plural prestidigitations)

  1. prestidigitation

Related termsEdit

Further readingEdit