Share this entry

Share this page

abracadabra

Line breaks: abra|ca¦dabra
Pronunciation: /ˌabrəkəˈdabrə
 
/

Definition of abracadabra in English:

exclamation

A word said by conjurors when performing a magic trick.
Example sentences
  • The fairy moved her magic stick and - abracadabra!
  • Charisma, love and magic and abracadabra, Gemma's not on booze, Ahmed is polite to his car maintenance teacher and Wayne has left his knife at home.
  • A person who is unaware of the phenomenon of magnetism could be fooled by a magician who presents lodestone as a ‘magic rock,’ perhaps as a formerly ordinary rock made magical by saying the word abracadabra.
Synonyms
hocus-pocus, open sesame;

noun

[mass noun] informal Back to top  
Language used to give the impression of arcane knowledge or power: I get so fed up with all the mumbo jumbo and abracadabra
More example sentences
  • Waitrose wielded its article like a magic wand, and with a little abracadabra, hey presto!
  • The abracadabra of war against terrorism found support from the BJP government.
  • Why, then, has the pseudo-skeptical pseudo-scientist who so pusillanimously shied away from revealing his name posted the quoted abracadabra as a supposed ‘review’ of my book?

Origin

late 17th century (as a mystical word engraved and used as a charm to ward off illness): from Latin, first recorded in a 2nd-century poem by Q. Serenus Sammonicus, from a Greek base.

More
  • These days abracadabra is just a fun word said by magicians as they do a trick, but formerly it was much more serious—a magic word that was supposed to be a charm against fever and was often engraved on an amulet worn around the neck. Abracadabra was written so that it formed a triangle, beginning with ‘A’ on the first line, ‘AB’ on the second, and so on. It ultimately goes back to ancient times, first recorded in a Latin poem of the 2nd century ad. See also presto at prestige

Words that rhyme with abracadabra

Aldabra

Definition of abracadabra in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day cumbersome
Pronunciation: ˈkʌmbəs(ə)m
adjective
large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry…