[wich-kraft, -krahft]


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

Origin of witchcraft

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

Synonyms for witchcraft

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

Examples from the Web for witchcraft

Contemporary Examples of witchcraft

Historical Examples of witchcraft

  • Witchcraft and sorcery he called it, and in Zuñi to be accused of witchcraft is death.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • At first the Hurons believed the Delaware had been thus deformed by witchcraft.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • They were obliged to say, that these miracles were wrought by witchcraft and the devil.

  • He waged war against astrology, alchemy, witchcraft, and like impostures.


    Samuel Smiles

  • Now, I do verily believe there is witchcraft in the tender passion.

    Gomez Arias

    Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso

British Dictionary definitions for witchcraft



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

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 The Witchcraft Act was repealed 1736.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

witchcraft in Culture


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.


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.