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prestidigitation

[pres-ti-dij-i-tey-shuh n]
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noun
  1. sleight of hand; legerdemain.
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Origin of prestidigitation

1855–60; < French: literally, ready-fingeredness, coinage perhaps based on prestigiateur juggler, conjurer, derivative of Latin praestīgiae juggler's tricks (see prestige). See prest1, digit, -ation
Related formspres·ti·dig·i·ta·tor, nounpres·ti·dig·i·ta·to·ry [pres-ti-dij-i-tuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˌprɛs tɪˈdɪdʒ ɪ təˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, pres·ti·dig·i·ta·to·ri·al, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for prestidigitation

prestidigitation

noun
  1. another name for sleight of hand
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Derived Formsprestidigitator, noun

Word Origin

C19: from French: quick-fingeredness, from Latin praestigiae feats of juggling, tricks, probably influenced by French preste nimble, and Latin digitus finger; see prestige
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 prestidigitation

n.

1843, from French prestidigitation, which was coined along with prestidigitator (q.v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper