Does anyone know the source of this 'magic' word? What about hocus pocus or alakazam?
"Hocus pocus" is a corruption of the Latin, "hoc est corpus," meaning "here is the body" and would be said when making a thing appear, but muttered and bastardized and generally worked into a performance by ignorant showmen who didn't know themselves that it really was supposed to mean something.

"Abracadabra" came either from the Hebrew, "Ab Ben Acadsch," the father, son, and holy spirit, or Abrasax, a Gnostic leader, by way of the Greek, "abrasadabra," as invoked by the Gnostics.

Alakazam is a proper name, and so I'd expect that the use of the term as a magic word was to be evocacative of "his powers" by performers, but I've been unable to confirm its origin as an eponym.
Return to the archive