[ sawr-ser-er ]
/ ˈsɔr sər ər /
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a person who practices sorcery; black magician; wizard.


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Origin of sorcerer

1520–30; earlier sorcer,Middle English <Middle French sorcier, perhaps <Vulgar Latin *sortiārius one who casts lots, equivalent to Latin sort- (stem of sors) lot, fate + -i--i- + -ārius-ier2; see -er1


un·der·sor·cer·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does sorcerer mean?

A sorcerer is a person who can perform sorcerywitchcraft or magic.

The word sorcerer can be used for any gender, but it typically refers to a man. The word sorceress refers to a woman who performs sorcery.

The word sorcery often (though not always) refers to so-called black magic—magic used for evil purposes. That’s why sorcerer and sorceress are often used to refer to evil characters in works of fiction, especially in the fantasy genre.

In contrast, similar words like wizard and magician usually imply that such figures use their powers for good. If not, you’d usually call them an evil wizard or evil magician. 

Apart from whether or not they use their supernatural powers for good or evil, the words sorcerer and sorceress often imply that such a person is very powerful due to having great skill and command of such powers.

For this reason, the word sorcerer is sometimes used in a figurative way to refer to a person who is very skilled at something, as if they have magical abilities, as in Chris is a sorcerer at coding. The word sorcery can be used to refer to such skill. The words wizard and wizardry are used (even more commonly) in the same ways.

Example: The sorcerer has cast a powerful spell to enchant this land.

Where does sorcerer come from?

The first records of the word sorcerer come from the 1520s. An earlier (and now no longer used) form of the word is sorcer. The word sorceress is recorded earlier than both of these, in the second half of the 1300s. All three words ultimately come from the Latin sortiārius, meaning “person who casts lots” (referring to a person who tells fortunes).

Fictionally speaking, a sorcerer is a magician (the kind who wields supernatural powers, not the kind who does card tricks). Sorcerers are often villains in the stories where they appear, but this is not always the case. Sorcerer only sometimes implies evil, but it always implies great magical power and skill. The figurative use of the word usually doesn’t imply evil. When you call a chef a sorcerer, it’s a compliment meaning that they use their skill to make magic in the kitchen—not that they use their powers for evil.

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What are some other forms related to sorcerer?


What are some synonyms for sorcerer?

What are some words that share a root or word element with sorcerer


What are some words that often get used in discussing sorcerer?


How is sorcerer used in real life?

Sorcerers most commonly appear (and disappear) in the context of fantasy.



Try using sorcerer!

True or False? 

Sorcerers are always evil.

How to use sorcerer in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sorcerer


feminine sorceress (ˈsɔːsərɪs)

/ (ˈsɔːsərə) /

a person who seeks to control and use magic powers; a wizard or magician

Word Origin for sorcerer

C16: from Old French sorcier, from Vulgar Latin sortiārius (unattested) caster of lots, from Latin sors lot
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