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[mey-jahy] /ˈmeɪ dʒaɪ/
plural noun, singular Magus
[mey-guh s] /ˈmeɪ gəs/ (Show IPA)
(sometimes lowercase) the wise men, generally assumed to be three in number, who paid homage to the infant Jesus. Matt. 2:1–12.
Compare Balthazar (def 1), Caspar (def 1), Melchior (def 1).
(sometimes lowercase) the class of Zoroastrian priests in ancient Media and Persia, reputed to possess supernatural powers.
(lowercase) astrologers.
Origin of Magi
See origin at Magus
Related forms
[mey-jee-uh n] /ˈmeɪ dʒi ən/ (Show IPA),


[mey-guh s] /ˈmeɪ gəs/
noun, plural Magi
[mey-jahy] /ˈmeɪ dʒaɪ/ (Show IPA)
(sometimes lowercase) one of the Magi.
(lowercase) a magician, sorcerer, or astrologer.
(sometimes lowercase) a Zoroastrian priest.
Compare Magi (def 2).
1615-25; < Latin < Greek mágos < Old Persian maguŝ; compare Avestan moγu Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Magi
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Jews had the real fire from heaven, and the Magi pretended to have received theirs from the upper regions likewise.

  • They are represented as the Magi, who came from the east with presents for the infant Saviour.

    Down the Rhine Oliver Optic
  • The fresco of the 'Magi' is less notable in detail, and in general effect is more spoiled by obtrusive blues.

  • He, however, pretended to accede to the propositions of the Magi.

    Darius the Great Jacob Abbott
  • In precisely the same way the Persian feast of the Magophonia was supposed to commemorate a victory over and massacre of the Magi.

    Magic and Religion Andrew Lang
  • The Magi of his time were opposed to his innovations; and they, therefore, were condemned by him.

    Mysticism and its Results John Delafield
  • The priests and Magi of the ancient Druids possessed a wonderful faculty of healing.

  • He found that the eminent of the Magi usurped the sovereignty after the death of Cambyses.

    Mysticism and its Results John Delafield
British Dictionary definitions for Magi


plural noun (sing) magus (ˈmeɪɡəs)
the Zoroastrian priests of the ancient Medes and Persians
the three magi, the wise men from the East who came to do homage to the infant Jesus (Matthew 2:1–12) and traditionally called Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar
Derived Forms
magian (ˈmeɪdʒɪən) adjective


noun (pl) magi (ˈmeɪdʒaɪ)
a Zoroastrian priest
an astrologer, sorcerer, or magician of ancient times
Word Origin
C14: from Latin, from Greek magos, from Old Persian magus magician


(New Testament) Simon Magus, a sorcerer who tried to buy spiritual powers from the apostles (Acts 8:9-24)
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 Magi



c.1200, "skilled magicians, astrologers," from Latin magi, plural of magus "magician, learned magician," from Greek magos, a word used for the Persian learned and priestly class as portrayed in the Bible (said by ancient historians to have been originally the name of a Median tribe), from Old Persian magush "magician" (see magic). Related: Magian.



member of the ancient Persian priestly caste, late 14c., singular of magi (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Magi in Culture
Magi [(may-jeye)]

The sages who visited Jesus soon after his birth. (See Wise Men.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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