abracadabra

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n abracadabra gibberish and nonsense
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Abracadabra A mystical word or collocation of letters written as in the figure. Worn on an amulet it was supposed to ward off fever. At present the word is used chiefly in jest to denote something without meaning; jargon.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n abracadabra A cabalistic word used in incantations. When written in a manner similar to that shown in the accompanying diagram, so as to be read in different directions, and worn as an amulet, it was supposed to cure certain ailments.
    • n abracadabra Hence Any word-charm or empty jingle of words.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Abracadabra ab-ra-ka-dab′ra a cabbalistic word, written in successive lines, each shorter by a letter than the one above it, till the last letter A formed the apex of a triangle. It was worn as a charm for the cure of diseases. Now used generally for a spell or conjuring word: mere gibberish.
    • ***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. Of unknown origin
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
First found in 2d-cent. poem (Præcepta de Medicina) by Q. Serenus Sammonicus; further origin unknown.

Usage

In literature:

He rode his horse Abracadabra, and won the famous Guttlebury steeple-chase.
"The Book of Snobs" by William Makepeace Thackeray
Where be your periapts, and your abracadabras man?
"The Antiquary, Volume 2" by Sir Walter Scott
Where be your periapts, and your abracadabras man?
"The Antiquary, Complete" by Sir Walter Scott
From this the name Abracadabra may have arisen, with a sense of power in it as a charm.
"The Spectator, Volume 2." by Addison and Steele
From this the name Abracadabra may have arisen, with a sense of power in it as a charm.
"The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3" by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele
He seemed to be getting the hang of abracadabraing up what was in his mind.
"The Sky Is Falling" by Lester del Rey
Not with impunity can even the Adepts gain and keep the secrets of their evil Abracadabra.
"Sword and Gown" by George A. Lawrence
The Abracadabra amulet was supposed to be especially efficacious in ague.
"Three Thousand Years of Mental Healing" by George Barton Cutten
Her only regret is that she has had to leave at home her Persian cat Abracadabra, called "Abe" for short.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, May 13, 1914" by Various
Then when you have enough, you must say, "Little mill, stop grinding, Abracadabra," and it will stop.
"Eyebright" by Susan Coolidge
***

In news:

BUCHAREST, Romania – BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Abracadabra, we'll turn all of you into toads.
One of the most magical of all animated movie sequences features Mickey Mouse wildly splish-splashing and abracadabra-ing his way through "The Sorcerer 's Apprentice" sequence from Disney's "Fantasia.
BUCHAREST, Romania — Abracadabra, we'll turn all of you into toads.
Its new theater in Suburban Plaza is also home to the Abracadabra Children's Theater.
Patti LaBelle calling Aretha's hair a "deceased abracadabra".
***

In science:

Le, "The Smarandache Class of Paradoxes", in , Bombay, India, 1995; and in , Salinas, CA, 1993, and in , Bucharest, No. 2, 1994.
Sequences of Numbers Involved in Unsolved Problems
But it shows that in manufacturing such a curve it does not matter whether one, say, moves the mouths of a wormhole, or just utters: ‘Abracadabra!’.
No time machines in classical general relativity
***