One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Meaningless talk or activity, often designed to draw attention away from and disguise what is actually happening.‘some people still view psychology as a lot of hocus-pocus’
jargon, unintelligible language, obscure language, mumbo jumbo, argle-bargle, gibberish, balderdash, claptrap, nonsense, rubbish, twaddleView synonyms
- ‘Yet while most mind-reading acts wrap their shows up in a cloak of hocus-pocus, Salem portrays his mind games as science.’
- ‘And no amount of organic industry hocus-pocus can make that truth disappear.’
- ‘He never offers specifics; it's all hocus-pocus.’
- ‘Of course, after all the reports of financial hocus-pocus, investors are understandably wary of earnings figures being put out by corporations.’
- ‘In the healing story that Mark tells, things are even more ordinary: a simple question, a brief response, no hocus-pocus.’
- ‘He recalled that his father suffered greatly because people misunderstood what he did for black magic or some other hocus-pocus.’
- ‘The operation behind the printing of those statements is a show of such technological hocus-pocus that it is distracting.’
- ‘I like the simple, durable types that have manual controls - no electronic hocus-pocuses.’
- ‘And if the virtual world is broad, it obviously isn't broad enough to enable one to escape from this kind of corporate hocus-pocus.’
- ‘More evidence of religious hocus-pocus over substance?’
- ‘As he puts it, ‘There is always a conundrum, a mystery and hocus-pocus in an established religion.’’
- ‘By the dawn of the Scientific Revolution, researchers equipped with microscopes founded modern chemistry - and dismissed alchemy as hocus-pocus.’
- ‘But everything else in this ‘investigation’ is not much more than editorial hocus-pocus.’
- ‘For secrets on the technical hocus-pocus, go with the two production commentaries.’
- ‘Without these other figures, the rest is hocus-pocus.’
- ‘No statistical hocus-pocus can hide this real-life, greed-induced assault on our country's middle class.’
- ‘His bill not only includes some $400 million a year in direct subsidies, but it also attempts to bamboozle us with linguistic hocus-pocus, simply defining away the industry's environmental ugliness.’
- 1.1 A form of words often used by a person performing magic tricks.
magic words, magic formula, mumbo jumbo, abracadabra, incantation, chant, invocation, charmView synonyms
- ‘The Spencers would be the first to say that it takes more than a magic wand and a couple of hocus-pocuses to help people feel better about themselves.’
- ‘Up to that point it was all potions and hocus-pocus.’
- ‘She reads a simple incantation, and before anyone can say "Hocus Pocus!" or twitch a nose all three girls are changed.’
- ‘‘Maybe you'd prefer abracadabra hocus-pocus,’ said Madi nastily, and the room was filled with pretty multicoloured sparkles which eventually faded away.’
- ‘Abracadabra, Abraxas and Hocus Pocus are well-known examples of verbal spells.’
- ‘The power of magick is not just hocus-pocus, a wiggle of a rat, and a curse with a bat.’
- 1.2US Deception; trickery.
- ‘One is simply another name for psychic healing and involves none of the fake hocus-pocus of the other.’
- ‘Our most beloved hocus-pocus of all is the idea that economic growth will rescue us from all our troubles - but last fall the economy grew 8 percent without creating any new jobs to speak of.’
- ‘There is no hocus-pocus, no aggressive posturing or screaming for effect.’
- ‘As I've already said, there are lots of people who are sceptical about psychics, and think that's it's just hocus-pocus.’
Early 17th century: from hax pax max Deus adimax, a pseudo-Latin phrase used as a magic formula by conjurors.
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