Say the Magic Word: The Origins of Abracadabra

Where does the word Abracadabra come from?

Magic words are often used by magicians whilst performing magic tricks on stage. One of the most common of these incantations is ‘Abracadabra’. Although this word is known to many, it is likely that fewer people are aware of its origins. Apart from ‘Abracadabra’ there are several other magic words that are popularly used by stage magicians. Like ‘Abracadabra’, however, the origins of these words are also a mystery to most people.

While ‘Abracadabra’ is commonly used by stage magicians today for the entertainment of the masses, this word is said to have its origins in the ancient Roman world. Back then, this word was not used for performances, but was believed to contain potent magical power within it.

According to one theory, the word ‘Abracadabra’ is derived from the Hebrew words ‘ab, ben, ruach hakodesh’, which translates as ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’. Thus, the word ‘Abracadabra’ is in fact an invocation of the Holy Trinity .

According to another theory, this magic word is derived from another magic word known as ‘abraxas’. This word is special, as its letters, in Greek numerology, adds up to 365, i.e. the number of days in a year .

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