hocus-pocus

[ hoh-kuhs-poh-kuhs ]
/ ˈhoʊ kəsˈpoʊ kəs /

noun

a meaningless chant or expression used in conjuring or incantation.
a juggler's trick; sleight of hand.
trickery; deception.
unnecessarily mysterious or elaborate activity or talk to cover up a deception, magnify a simple purpose, etc.

verb (used with object), ho·cus-po·cused, ho·cus-po·cus·ing or (especially British) ho·cus-po·cussed, ho·cus-po·cus·sing.

to play tricks on or with.

verb (used without object), ho·cus-po·cused, ho·cus-po·cus·ing or (especially British) ho·cus-po·cussed, ho·cus-po·cus·sing.

to perform tricks; practice trickery or deception.

Origin of hocus-pocus

First recorded in 1615–25; pseudo-Latin rhyming formula used by jugglers and magicians
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for hocus-pocus

hocus-pocus

/ (ˈhəʊkəsˈpəʊkəs) /

noun

trickery or chicanery
mystifying jargon
an incantation used by conjurors or magicians when performing tricks
conjuring skill or practice

verb -cuses, -cusing, -cused, -cuses, -cussing or -cussed

to deceive or trick (someone)

Word Origin for hocus-pocus

C17: perhaps a dog-Latin formation invented by jugglers
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