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90s Slang You Should Know


[in-kan-tey-shuh n] /ˌɪn kænˈteɪ ʃən/
the chanting or uttering of words purporting to have magical power.
the formula employed; a spell or charm.
magical ceremonies.
magic; sorcery.
repetitious wordiness used to conceal a lack of content; obfuscation:
Her prose too often resorts to incantation.
Origin of incantation
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin incantātiōn- (stem of incantātiō), equivalent to incantāt(us) past participle of incantāre to put a spell on, bewitch (see enchant, -ate1) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
incantational, incantatory
[in-kan-tuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ɪnˈkæn təˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
incantator, noun
4. witchcraft, black magic, wizardry. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for incantation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • First of all, then, the intoning and the chanting acted on him exactly like an incantation.

    The Combined Maze May Sinclair
  • He took a deep breath, as if he were about to spit out an incantation.

    Wizard Laurence Mark Janifer (AKA Larry M. Harris)
  • An incantation used to invite spiders, which are considered unlucky by the superstitious, to come again at the Greek Kalends.

    Tales of Old Japan Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford
  • It was the power of vision and movement, the power of spell and incantation.

    Hex Laurence Mark Janifer (AKA Larry M. Harris)
  • She obeyed the summons, and found him crouching over the fire, looking like some weird priest of old performing an incantation.

    Her Dark Inheritance Mrs. E. Burke Collins
  • No; this was the incantation reserved for souls athirst for fame, of virtue emulous.

    The Memorabilia Xenophon
  • This incantation method could hardly advance intelligence; but the methods of practical measuring were more effective.

    Creative Intelligence John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen
  • Every incantation I uttered was insufficient to bring him back.

  • One of the priests extended his arms upward, over the prone man, and seemed to be mouthing a prayer or incantation.

    Before Egypt E. K. Jarvis
British Dictionary definitions for incantation


ritual recitation of magic words or sounds
the formulaic words or sounds used; a magic spell
Derived Forms
incantational, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin incantātiō an enchanting, from incantāre to repeat magic formulas, from Latin, from in-² + cantāre to sing; see enchant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for incantation

late 14c., from Old French incantacion "spell, exorcism" (13c.), from Latin incantationem (nominative incantatio) "art of enchanting," noun of action from past participle stem of incantare "bewitch, charm," literally "sing spells" (see enchantment).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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