|  Share | Cite


abracadabra (ăbˌrəkədăbˈrə) [key], magical formula used by the Gnostics (see Gnosticism) to invoke the aid of benevolent spirits to ward off disease and affliction. It is supposed to be derived from the abraxas, a word that was engraved on gems and amulets or was variously worn as a protective charm. Handed down through the Middle Ages, the abracadabra gradually lost its occult significance, and its meaning was extended to cover any hocus-pocus.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on abracadabra from Infoplease:

  • abracadabra: meaning and definitions - abracadabra: Definition and Pronunciation
  • Abracadabra - Abracadabra Abracada′bra A charm. It is said that Abracadabra was the supreme deity of the ...
  • amulet - amulet amulet , object or formula that credulity and superstition have endowed with the power of ...
  • Robert Graves: Love and Black Magic - To the woods, to the woods is the wizard gone; In his grotto the maiden sits alone. She gazes up with a weary smile At the rafter-hanging crocodile, T
  • Xuxa - Biography of Xuxa, Brazilian children's TV star

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Miscellaneous Religion