[ sawr-ser-uhs ]
/ ˈsɔr sər əs /
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of the nature of or involving sorcery.
using sorcery.
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Origin of sorcerous

First recorded in 1540–50; sorcer(y) + -ous


sor·cer·ous·ly, adverb

Words nearby sorcerous

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does sorcerous mean?

Sorcerous means using or involving sorcerysupernatural power or the ability to use supernatural powers (witchcraft or magic).

The word sorcery often (though not always) refers to so-called black magic—magic used for evil purposes.

A person who can perform sorcery is called a sorcerer (which can be used for any gender, but typically refers to a man) or a sorceress (which refers to a woman). 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.

Sorcerous may or may not imply evil, but it usually implies great power—and often great skill and command of such power.

For this reason, the word sorcerous can be used in a figurative way to describe action that takes great skill, as if it’s a magical ability, as in Chris has sorcerous skill in coding. The word sorcery can be used to refer to such skill, and a person who’s skilled in this way can be called a sorcerer or a sorceress.

Example: I fear that some sorcerous power has enchanted this land.

Where does sorcerous come from?

The first records of the word sorcerous come from the 1540s. It ultimately comes from the Latin sortiārius, meaning “person who casts lots” (referring to a person who tells fortunes).

Fictionally speaking, sorcery is a magic (the kind with supernatural power, not the kind with card tricks). Sorcerers are often villains in the stories where they appear, but this is not always the case. Describing something as sorcerous 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 someone’s cooking sorcerous, it’s a compliment meaning that they make magic in the kitchen with their great skill—not that they use their powers for evil.

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What are some other forms related to sorcerous?

  • sorcerously (adverb)
  • sorcery (noun)


What are some synonyms for sorcerous?

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

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


How is sorcerous used in real life?

The word sorcerous can be used in the context of fantasy or in a figurative way, but it’s much less commonly used than sorcery, sorcerer, and sorceress.



Try using sorcerous!

True or False? 

Describing something as sorcerous always means that it’s evil.

How to use sorcerous in a sentence

  • The spirits of evil were creeping out of the darkness to make their last sorcerous appeal.

    The Gray Phantom|Herman Landon
  • Sharp flashed his sword forth, fleet as flame, And shore away her sorcerous head.

    The Tale of Balen|Algernon Charles Swinburne
  • Here they reclined just as sorcerous sleep had overtaken them.

    Henry Brocken|Walter J. de la Mare