Also found in: Thesaurus, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. A magical charm or incantation having the power to ward off disease or disaster.
2. Foolish or unintelligible talk.
Used by a magician just before completing a trick or an illusion.
[Late Latin magical formula of unknown origin.]
Word History: The word abracadabra is first attested in a poem about medical matters attributed to the Roman author Quintus Serenus Sammonicus, who lived around the second century ad. In one of the poem's prescriptions for magical cures, the letters of the word abracadabra are written on papyrus in an inverted triangle and worn as an amulet around the neck. The top line of letters in the triangle consists of the word abracadabra, and one letter is subtracted from the end of this word in each line below it: abracadabr, abracadab, abracada, and so forth. At last only the letter a remains to form the vertex of the triangle. As the letters disappear, so supposedly does the disease or trouble.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
a spoken formula, used esp by conjurors
1. a word used in incantations, etc, considered to possess magic powers
2. gibberish; nonsense
[C17: from Latin: magical word used in certain Gnostic writings, perhaps related to Greek Abraxas; see abraxas]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
ab•ra•ca•dab•ra(ˌæb rə kəˈdæb rə)
1. a mystical word used in incantations, on amulets, etc., as a magical means of warding off misfortune, harm, or illness.
2. any charm or incantation using nonsensical or supposedly magical words.
3. meaningless talk; gibberish; nonsense.
[1690–1700; < Late Latin, probably < Late Greek]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
A magic word perhaps derived from the name of the demon Abraxas. In numerology, the letters in the name Abraxas add up to 365, the number of days of the year.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||abracadabra - gibberish and nonsense|
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
1. Unintelligible or nonsensical talk or language:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
abracadabra[ˌabrəkəˈdæbrə] N → abracadabra m
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
abracadabra[ˌæbrəkəˈdæbrə] excl → abracadabra
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
n → Abrakadabra nt
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007