Magic word

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Classic magic words

Magic words are phrases used in fantasy fiction or by stage magicians. Frequently such words are presented as being part of a divine, adamic, or other secret or empowered language. Certain comic book heroes use magic words to activate their powers. Magic words are also used as Easter eggs or cheats in computer games, other software, and operating systems. (For example, the words xyzzy, plugh, and plover were magic words in the classic computer adventure game Colossal Cave Adventure.)

Invocations of magic[edit]

Examples of traditional and modern magic words include:[1]

  • Abracadabra – magic word used by magicians.
  • Ajji Majji la Tarajji – Iranian magic word (Persian).[citation needed]
  • Alakazam – a phrase used by magicians.[2]
  • Hocus pocus – a phrase used by magicians.
  • Jantar Mantar Jadu Mantar – a phrase used by magicians in India.
  • Presto chango or Hey Presto – used by magicians (probably intended to suggest "quick change").[3]
  • Please – the nicest magic word[4]

Magic words in fiction[edit]

Craig Conley, a scholar of magic, writes that the magic words used by conjurers may originate from "pseudo-Latin phrases, nonsense syllables, or esoteric terms from religious antiquity", but that what they have in common is "language as an instrument of creation".[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ramasami, Ponnadurai (September 2015). "Perspectives of Virtual Conference on Computational Chemistry (VCCC-2014)". Journal of Computational Science. 10: 155. doi:10.1016/j.jocs.2015.08.006. ISSN 1877-7503.
  2. ^ Stibbe, Arran (2005). "ABRACADABRA, ALAKAZAM: Colonialism and the Discourse of Entertainment Magic". Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal. 88 (3/4): 414–415. ISSN 0038-1861. JSTOR 41179134.
  3. ^ Peter Monticup. "Magic Glossary".
  4. ^ Mary Besemeres, Anna Wierzbicka, Translating Lives: Living with Two Languages and Cultures (2007), p. 115.
  5. ^ "Magic Words: A Dictionary". The Magician's Hidden Library. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Panda director 'for He-Man movie'". BBC News. 2009-01-30. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Alibaba Aur 40 Chor (1954 film) - Wikipedia". Wikipedia. Retrieved 2023-09-20.
  8. ^ "Sesame: Origin, History, Etymology and Mythology". 2015-11-30. Archived from the original on 25 January 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Paul Daniels' Wizbit returns to children's TV". 27 May 2009. Retrieved 2023-06-28.
  10. ^ Conley, Craig (2008). Magic Words: A Dictionary. Weiser Books. p. 18. ISBN 9781609250508.

External links[edit]