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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),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for magian
Historical Examples
  • Amytis, who saw what was the magian's object, warned her son Cambyses not to trust him.

  • By the king's command, he also was made acquainted with the magian learning.

  • The plane as well as the cypress was one of the distinctive trees of the magian paradise.

    Cultus Arborum Anonymous
  • So Dareios was persuaded, and he thrust with his danger and happened to hit the magian.

  • Atossa had, of course, known her brother well, and was on that very account very closely secluded by the magian.

    Xerxes Jacob Abbott
  • If it was Smerdis the magian, she would find that he had none.

    Darius the Great Jacob Abbott
  • It was the rebellion of the magian Smerdis which the demon revealed to me in a dream.

  • And alone, in the distance, the lonely man beheld his magian brother.

    Zanoni Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • Hence he knew of the fact, and, as was fitting, he urged the overthrow of the magian before all others.

  • "There are harder things than catching him," said the magian.

British Dictionary definitions for magian


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
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 magian



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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magian 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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