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plural noun, singular Ma·gus [mey-guh s] /ˈmeɪ gəs/
  1. (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).
  2. (sometimes lowercase) the class of Zoroastrian priests in ancient Media and Persia, reputed to possess supernatural powers.
  3. (lowercase) astrologers.
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Origin of Magi

see origin at Magus
Related formsMa·gi·an [mey-jee-uh n] /ˈmeɪ dʒi ən/, adjective


[mey-guh s]
noun, plural Ma·gi [mey-jahy] /ˈmeɪ dʒaɪ/.
  1. (sometimes lowercase) one of the Magi.
  2. (lowercase) a magician, sorcerer, or astrologer.
  3. (sometimes lowercase) a Zoroastrian priest.Compare Magi(def 2).
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Origin of Magus

1615–25; < Latin < Greek mágos < Old Persian maguŝ; compare Avestan moγu
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

wizard, sage, seer, magician, magi

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British Dictionary definitions for magi


pl n singular magus (ˈmeɪɡəs)
  1. the Zoroastrian priests of the ancient Medes and Persians
  2. 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
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Derived Formsmagian (ˈmeɪdʒɪən), adjective


noun plural magi (ˈmeɪdʒaɪ)
  1. a Zoroastrian priest
  2. an astrologer, sorcerer, or magician of ancient times
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Word Origin

C14: from Latin, from Greek magos, from Old Persian magus magician


  1. Simon Magus New Testament a sorcerer who tried to buy spiritual powers from the apostles (Acts 8:9-24)
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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 magi


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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

magi in Culture



The sages who visited Jesus soon after his birth. (See Wise Men.)

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.