handwavium

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

hand waving +‎ -ium (the chemical element suffix).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

handwavium (uncountable)

  1. (informal, fiction) Any hypothetical but unobtainable material with desirable engineering properties.
    • 2008 February 3, Jacey Bedford <jacey@artisan-harmony.com>, “Handwavium”, in rec.arts.sf.composition, Usenet[1]:
      My handwavium was an invented mineral, but - reading up - what about platinum? Could I substitute platinum for handwavium?
    • 2008 March, Alexander Jablokov, “The Boarder”, in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, volume 114, number 3, Concord, N.H.: Fantasy House, ISSN 1095-8258, OCLC 489436821, page 9:
      It made no sense to him that their very impossibility was their pleasure. He puzzled over the spacecraft and their handwavium drives. "The thousand and one nights of Scheherazade, told by an engineering student who failed his graduation exams," was his literary judgment.
    • 2012, Imogen Howson, Blood of the Volcano, Cincinnati, Oh.: Samhain Publishing, →ISBN, page 167:
      She writes romantic fantasy and science fiction, and makes liberal use of the substance known as handwavium.

Synonyms[edit]