9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[ab-ruh-kuh-dab-ruh] /ˌæb rə kəˈdæb rə/
a mystical word or expression used in incantations, on amulets, etc., as a magical means of warding off misfortune, harm, or illness.
any charm or incantation using nonsensical or supposedly magical words.
meaningless talk; gibberish; nonsense.
Origin of abracadabra
1690-1700; < Late Latin, probably < Late Greek, perhaps reflecting recitation of the initial letters of the alphabet; cf. abecedary Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for abracadabra
  • When it comes to an extended day trip, then abracadabra, you can expand it and get more into the main compartment.
  • It's got lots of entries for inquisitive younglings, from abracadabra to zombies.
British Dictionary definitions for abracadabra


a spoken formula, used esp by conjurors
a word used in incantations, etc, considered to possess magic powers
gibberish; nonsense
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: magical word used in certain Gnostic writings, perhaps related to Greek Abraxas; see abraxas
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
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Word Origin and History for abracadabra

magical formula, 1690s, from Latin (Q. Severus Sammonicus, 2c.), from Late Greek Abraxas, cabalistic or gnostic name for the supreme god, and thus a word of power. It was written out in a triangle shape and worn around the neck to ward off sickness, etc. Another magical word, from a mid-15c. writing, was ananizapta.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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