[ in-kan-tey-shuhn ]
See synonyms for incantation on
  1. the chanting or uttering of words purporting to have magical power.

  2. the formula employed; a spell or charm.

  1. magical ceremonies.

  2. magic; sorcery.

  3. repetitious wordiness used to conceal a lack of content; obfuscation: Her prose too often resorts to incantation.

Origin of incantation

1350–1400; Middle English <Late Latin incantātiōn- (stem of incantātiō), equivalent to incantāt(us) past participle of incantāre to put a spell on, bewitch (see enchant, -ate1) + -iōn--ion

Other words for incantation

Other words from incantation

  • in·can·ta·tion·al, in·can·ta·to·ry [in-kan-tuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee], /ɪnˈkæn təˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjective
  • in·can·ta·tor, noun

Words Nearby incantation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use incantation in a sentence

  • They met by the parapet of the Quai, just as Père Bracasse had come to the end of his incantation.

  • Whenever they passed an embedded fakir, they obtained an incantation from his lips, but still Baal-Zeboub failed.

    Devil-Worship in France | Arthur Edward Waite
  • And now he began to speak, not loudly, but with solemn deliberation, as though he were uttering an incantation.

  • I have extensive knowledge of incantation, poetry, magic, and I know these concern your problem.

    The Jewels of Aptor | Samuel R. Delany

British Dictionary definitions for incantation


/ (ˌɪnkænˈteɪʃən) /

  1. ritual recitation of magic words or sounds

  2. the formulaic words or sounds used; a magic spell

Origin of incantation

C14: from Late Latin incantātiō an enchanting, from incantāre to repeat magic formulas, from Latin, from in- ² + cantāre to sing; see enchant

Derived forms of incantation

  • incantational, 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