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incantation

[in-kan-tey-shuh n]
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noun
  1. the chanting or uttering of words purporting to have magical power.
  2. the formula employed; a spell or charm.
  3. magical ceremonies.
  4. magic; sorcery.
  5. repetitious wordiness used to conceal a lack of content; obfuscation: Her prose too often resorts to incantation.
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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
Related formsin·can·ta·tion·al, in·can·ta·to·ry [in-kan-tuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ɪnˈkæn təˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectivein·can·ta·tor, noun

Synonyms

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4. witchcraft, black magic, wizardry.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for incantation

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The incantation that had never yet failed of its hated purpose was pronounced in vain.

    Imogen

    William Godwin

  • This door should only open to the incantation of "Taraporevala."

    Jan and Her Job

    L. Allen Harker

  • No; this was the incantation reserved for souls athirst for fame, of virtue emulous.

  • Had the Sirens only to utter this one incantation, and was every listener constrained to stay?

  • By the command of Anu, Anatum, and Belit, recite the incantation.


British Dictionary definitions for incantation

incantation

noun
  1. ritual recitation of magic words or sounds
  2. the formulaic words or sounds used; a magic spell
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Derived Formsincantational, adjective

Word Origin

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

n.

late 14c., from Old French incantacion "spell, exorcism" (13c.), from Latin incantationem (nominative incantatio) "art of enchanting," noun of action from past participle stem of incantare "bewitch, charm," literally "sing spells" (see enchantment).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper