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hocus-pocus

Line breaks: hocus-pocus
Pronunciation: /həʊkəsˈpəʊkəs
 
/

Definition of hocus-pocus in English:

noun

[mass noun]
1Meaningless talk or activity, typically designed to trick someone or conceal the truth of a situation: some people still view psychology as a lot of hocus-pocus
More example sentences
  • And no amount of organic industry hocus-pocus can make that truth disappear.
  • His bill not only includes some $400 million a year in direct subsidies, but it also attempts to bamboozle us with linguistic hocus-pocus, simply defining away the industry's environmental ugliness.
  • He never offers specifics; it's all hocus-pocus.
Synonyms
jargon, unintelligible language, obscure language, mumbo jumbo, argle-bargle, gibberish, balderdash, claptrap, nonsense, rubbish, twaddle
informal gobbledegook, double Dutch, hokum, bull, rot, garbage, tripe
North American informal flapdoodle
informal , dated bunkum
1.1A form of words used by a person performing conjuring tricks.
Example sentences
  • ‘Maybe you'd prefer abracadabra hocus-pocus,’ said Madi nastily, and the room was filled with pretty multicoloured sparkles which eventually faded away.
  • The power of magick is not just hocus-pocus, a wiggle of a rat, and a curse with a bat.
  • Up to that point it was all potions and hocus-pocus.
Synonyms
magic words, magic formula, mumbo jumbo, abracadabra, incantation, chant, invocation, charm
1.2US Deception; trickery.
Example sentences
  • Our most beloved hocus-pocus of all is the idea that economic growth will rescue us from all our troubles - but last fall the economy grew 8 percent without creating any new jobs to speak of.
  • There is no hocus-pocus, no aggressive posturing or screaming for effect.
  • As I've already said, there are lots of people who are sceptical about psychics, and think that's it's just hocus-pocus.

Origin

early 17th century: from hax pax max Deus adimax, a pseudo-Latin phrase used as a magic formula by conjurors.

More
  • hanky-panky from (mid 19th century):

    People have been talking in disapproving terms of hanky-panky since the 1830s. Then it tended to mean ‘trickery’ or ‘dishonest behaviour’, whereas since the 1930s it has mainly referred to sexual indiscretions. The word is possibly an alteration of hocus-pocus, which was said by conjurors as they performed their tricks, rather like ‘abracadabra!’. This appeared in the early 17th century based on a pseudo-Latin phrase hax pax max Deus adimax used by conjurors as a magic formula. Hoax (late 18th century) may be a shortening of hocus-pocus.

Words that rhyme with hocus-pocus

Archilochus, Cocos, crocus, focus, hocus, locus

Definition of hocus-pocus in:

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