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 כְּדַברָא, avda kedavara; “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 ), but there is little supporting evidence.
abracadabra (plural abracadabras)
- 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 August 28, Georgina Turner, The Guardian:
- 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.
- 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, page 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.
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abracadabra m (plural abracadabras)
- “abracadabra” in le Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).
- abracadabra (used to indicate that a magic trick or other illusion has been performed)