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abracadabra

[ab-ruh-kuh-dab-ruh]
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noun
  1. a mystical word or expression used in incantations, on amulets, etc., as a magical means of warding off misfortune, harm, or illness.
  2. any charm or incantation using nonsensical or supposedly magical words.
  3. meaningless talk; gibberish; nonsense.
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Origin of abracadabra

1690–1700; < Late Latin, probably < Late Greek, perhaps reflecting recitation of the initial letters of the alphabet; cf. abecedary
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for abracadabra

abracadabra

interjection
  1. a spoken formula, used esp by conjurors
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noun
  1. a word used in incantations, etc, considered to possess magic powers
  2. gibberish; nonsense
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin: magical word used in certain Gnostic writings, perhaps related to Greek Abraxas; see abraxas
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

Word Origin and History for abracadabra

magical formula, 1690s, from Latin (Q. Severus Sammonicus, 2c.), from Late Greek Abraxas, cabalistic or gnostic name for the supreme god, and thus a word of power. It was written out in a triangle shape and worn around the neck to ward off sickness, etc. Another magical word, from a mid-15c. writing, was ananizapta.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper