Definition of abracadabra in English:



  • A word said by conjurors when performing a magic trick.

    • ‘But before you could say abracadabra the project hit the rocks and CTI was lucky to even get an album's worth of material out of the studio.’
    • ‘The fairy moved her magic stick and - abracadabra!’
    • ‘All you have to do here is go to your stove, put in a cabbage, wiggle your nose and, abracadabra!’
    • ‘He worked his magic and, abracadabra, the Panthers finished a respectable 7-9.’
    • ‘A person who is unaware of the phenomenon of magnetism could be fooled by a magician who presents lodestone as a ‘magic rock,’ perhaps as a formerly ordinary rock made magical by saying the word abracadabra.’
    • ‘If you you're a wizard… you can always use your abracadabra to make orange juice!’
    • ‘Charisma, love and magic and abracadabra, Gemma's not on booze, Ahmed is polite to his car maintenance teacher and Wayne has left his knife at home.’
    • ‘She actually thought I meant to wave a wand and say abracadabra!’
    • ‘Lo and behold, (and abracadabra too), it worked!’
    • ‘Too many occasions ruined by intrusive waiters demanding that you shut up and listen to them describe what you are about to eat before you eat it, too many orchestrated removals of silver covers - abracadabra, hocus pocus!’
    • ‘Essentially an electronic book, it contains over 400 definitions and essays, from abracadabra to zombies.’
    hocus-pocus, open sesame
    mumbo jumbo
    View synonyms


  • 1[mass noun] Language used to give the impression of arcane knowledge or power:

    ‘I get so fed up with all the mumbo jumbo and abracadabra’
    • ‘Why, then, has the pseudo-skeptical pseudo-scientist who so pusillanimously shied away from revealing his name posted the quoted abracadabra as a supposed ‘review’ of my book?’
    • ‘The abracadabra of war against terrorism found support from the BJP government.’
    • ‘Waitrose wielded its article like a magic wand, and with a little abracadabra, hey presto!’
    1. 1.1 The implausibly easy performance of difficult feats:
      ‘the creation of profits was a marvellous bit of abracadabra’
      • ‘There are benefits to accepting a little bit of abracadabra.’
      • ‘It was on account of the chairman's abracadabra that we were all rolling around drunk with wealth, tossing greenbacks in the air in nouveau riche ecstasy.’
      • ‘Like many of the illusionist's decisions, he used a bit of abracadabra to make the purchase.’
      • ‘Can you get that same moment of abracadabra from oils or sculpture?’
      • ‘Speaking of Abracadabra, I would like to focus on the expression "the magics of bookmaking."’
      • ‘Add CGI and there are three levels of abracadabra: the magic trick, the magic of a camera and the magic of an editing suite.’
      • ‘The man seems quite fond of abracadabra himself, going by what his partymen are planning for the poll campaigns.’
      • ‘He will impress Jack with some abracadabra around the greens.’
      • ‘Despite a title suggesting it delivers a spot of abracadabra, The Conjuring pulls no rabbits out of hats.’
      • ‘A bit of abracadabra yields better research mice.’


Late 17th century (as a mystical word engraved and used as a charm to ward off illness): from Latin, first recorded in a 2nd-century poem by Q. Serenus Sammonicus, from a Greek base.