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[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).
Origin of Magus
1615-25; < Latin < Greek mágos < Old Persian maguŝ; compare Avestan moγu


[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.
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 Magus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Changed as was Juniper, the Magus was yet more whimsically metamorphosed.

    Rookwood William Harrison Ainsworth
  • Broichan, the Magus, had in his possession a female slave from Ireland.

    The Book-Hunter John Hill Burton
  • Magus at this time was seventy-five years old, and there was no reason why he should not live to a hundred.

    Cousin Pons Honore de Balzac
  • Six came off, and four got their sentence to die at Magus muir.

  • Another print—a companion to the foregoing—represents the still more complete discomfiture of the Magus.

  • Mago, which, like Magus, implies more dignity than magician or sorcerer.

    Legends of Florence Charles Godfrey Leland
  • The root has been p. 41erroneously derived from Μιyος, Magus, magicians or supernatural beings, as they were almost held to be.

  • Magus was out, and Pierre could obtain no information on this phenomenon.

    Pierre Grassou Honore de Balzac
British Dictionary definitions for Magus


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)


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 Magus

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



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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Magus 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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