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, literally “what was said has been done”); עבראכדברא (avra kedavra, literally “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.
- 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.
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)