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abracadabra

Abracadabra is a mystical word used to magically invoke benevolent spirits for protection against disease. The expression is also used by modern magicians as they pretend to invoke paranormal or supernatural powers to aid in their illusions.

This magical formula may be related to the word 'abraxas', which was found on many amulets during the last years of the Roman Empire and is thought to have originated with the Gnostics or the Egyptians. Wikipedia says the expression is related to the Aramaic avda kedavra, ("what was said, occurred.")

In any case, abracadabra is just as effective as hocus-pocus.

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further reading

Schiffman, Nathaniel. Abracadabra!: Secret Methods Magicians & Others Use to Deceive Their Audience (Prometheus Books, 1997)).

Last updated 19-May-2012

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