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Cantrip is a word of Scots origin to mean a magical spell of any kind,[1] or one which reads the same forwards and backwards.[2] It can also be a witch's trick, or a sham.[3] It is possibly derived from the Gaelic canntaireachd, a piper's mnemonic chant.[4]

Usage in fantasy games[edit]

  • A type of minor spell in the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, generally the simplest and weakest kind available to learn. ("Most cantrips are simple little spells of no great effect, so... knowledge and information pertaining to these small magics are discarded in favor of the more powerful spells then available.")[5]
  • A slang term for a spell in the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game that has a minor effect, but causes the player to draw another card, replacing the card used to cast the cantrip. The term was adopted from Dungeons & Dragons.[6]
  • In Dominion a card which offers to draw another card and to play another action. The term is taken from Magic: The Gathering.[7]
  • A Spanish magazine related to the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game[8]
  • In Warhammer Fantasy, Cantrips are minor spells, known by all wizards when using the Storm of Magic Expansion Rulebook.[citation needed]
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, "memes and cantrips" are described as mundane yet essential mental exercises used by psykers to maintain their hold against the Warp.[citation needed]
  • In the MMO Guild Wars 2 cantrips are a set of skills used by the Elementalist class.
  • In Chocobo's Dungeon 2, Cantrips are status spells such as poison, slow, or frog that can be used by finding a Cantrip book.


  1. ^ Cantrip, Dictionary of the Scots Language (online edition).
  2. ^
  3. ^ "cantrip - definition of cantrip by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2014-05-01. 
  4. ^ Cantrip, Dictionary of the Scots Language (online edition).
  5. ^ Gygax, Gary. Unearthed Arcana. TSR, 1987, p. 45.
  6. ^ "Ask Wizards: July, 2004". Wizards of the Coast. 2004-07-13. Retrieved 2016-11-21. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ [1] Archived July 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.