witchcraft

[wich-kraft, -krahft]

noun

the art or practices of a witch; sorcery; magic.
magical influence; witchery.

Nearby words

  1. witch's mark,
  2. witch's milk,
  3. witch-,
  4. witch-elm,
  5. witch-hunt,
  6. witchery,
  7. witches' brew,
  8. witches' butter,
  9. witches' sabbath,
  10. witches'-besom

Origin of witchcraft

before 950; Middle English wicchecraft, Old English wiccecræft. See witch, craft

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for witchcraft


British Dictionary definitions for witchcraft

witchcraft

noun

the art or power of bringing magical or preternatural power to bear or the act or practice of attempting to do so
the influence of magic or sorcery
fascinating or bewitching influence or charm
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 witchcraft

witchcraft

n.

Old English wiccecræft, from wicce (see witch) + cræft "power, skill" (see craft). Witchcraft was declared a crime in English law in 1542; trials there peaked in 1580s and 1640s but fell sharply after 1660. The last, in 1717, ended in acquittal. The Witchcraft Act was repealed 1736.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for witchcraft

witchcraft

Popularly believed to be the practice of black magic. Witches are known today as followers of Wicca, a pagan nature religion with roots in pre-Christian western Europe. Wicca is now undergoing a revival, especially in the United States and Great Britain.

Note

Old misunderstandings and hysterical accusations have led to persecution of “witches,” most famously in the Salem witch trials of 1692.

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.