hocus-pocus

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n hocus-pocus verbal misrepresentation intended to take advantage of you in some way
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The magician's words "hocus-pocus" were taken from the name of a mythological sorcerer, Ochus Bochus, who appeared in Norse folktales and legends.
    • Hocus-pocus A juggler or trickster.
    • Hocus-pocus A magician's trick; a cheat; nonsense.
    • Hocus-pocus A term used by magicians or conjurers in pretended incantations.
    • Hocus-pocus Obfuscating talk or elaborate but meaningless activity intended to hide a deception or to obscure what is actually happening; verbal misrepresentation intended to take advantage of you in some way.
    • v. t Hocus-pocus To cheat.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n hocus-pocus A juggler; a trickster.
    • n hocus-pocus A juggler’ trick; a cheat used by conjurers; jugglery.
    • hocus-pocus Juggling; cheating.
    • hocus-pocus To juggle; deceive; cheat.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Hocus-pocus hō′kus-pō′kus a juggler: a juggler's trick
    • ***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Prob. invented by jugglers in imitation of Latin. Cf. Hoax Hocus
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
The meaningless gibberish of a juggler—no reference to 'hoc est corpus.'

Usage

In literature:

Third, that Penelope had heard them rehearsing their hocus-pocus, like actors rehearsing a play.
"The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins
And another thing, I won't have her thumped about all over the chest, or any hocus-pocus of the sort.
"Round the Red Lamp" by Arthur Conan Doyle
Dufour gave his best performances in the evening, as he could then show his hocus-pocus to best advantage.
"The Miracle Mongers, an Exposé" by Harry Houdini
All the rest is hocus-pocus.
"Little Dorrit" by Charles Dickens
And why all this hocus-pocus?
"Dope" by Sax Rohmer
Women, it is almost needless to point out, are much more cautious about embracing the conventional hocus-pocus of the situation.
"In Defense of Women" by H. L. Mencken
Getting ready for his regular midnight hocus-pocus, perhaps!
"The Gloved Hand" by Burton E. Stevenson
Now you may practise an hundred delicious things to please your appetites, & do as many Hocus Pocus tricks more.
"The Ten Pleasures of Marriage and The Confession of the New-married Couple (1682)" by A. Marsh
For myself, I love not such hocus pocus; but if it be a matter of Cuthbert's safety, I will e'en go and listen to her tale.
"The Lost Treasure of Trevlyn" by Evelyn Everett-Green
He shall get no chance for any hocus-pocus business, not while I have charge of your interests.
"The Chief Legatee" by Anna Katharine Green
And may I ask you, Professor Hocus Pocus, or whatever your name is, whom you are calling a schoolboy?
"Magic" by G.K. Chesterton
The two women by a magical hocus-pocus, were changed for a time, without any of the four knowing it.
"Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama" by E. Cobham Brewer
If anything, she's deadly logical; when her mind puzzles us it's never by hocus-pocus, but simply by swiftness in operation.
"Brother Copas" by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
His great craze for years has been spiritualism, theosophy, and mahatmas, with all their attendant hocus-pocus.
"A Master of Mysteries" by L. T. Meade
A sort of hocus-pocus ... now you are my wife, now you aren't my wife.
"Erik Dorn" by Ben Hecht
By what spiritual hocus-pocus this is managed is not known to those outside the trade.
"The Witches of New York" by Q. K. Philander Doesticks
That is, you can't start with a glass of cool water and, hocus-pocus, get it to separate into warm water and ice cube, right?
"A Feast of Demons" by William Morrison
There is no sleight-of-hand or hocus-pocus in the benefits it seeks to confer.
"Five Young Men" by Charles Reynolds Brown
I have tried to show him that what he proposes is simply a delusion of goldite hocus-pocus.
"The Arena" by Various
Then when the usual hocus-pocus starts, arrests can be made.
"Clue of the Silken Ladder" by Mildred A. Wirt
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In poetry:

In prudence, now, we break the glass;
We must view churches but in mass.
Nor split too nicely at the focus
Opinions, jumbled hocus-pocus.
"Experimentum Crucis" by John Kenyon

In news:

No more fiscal hocus pocus.
When it comes to Halloween movies, the hands-down favorite in the Greg "Splashin'" McShea household is the 1993 film, " Hocus Pocus".
Ahhhh, ' Hocus Pocus' — the story of three evil (singing and dancing) witches who like to eat children and sometimes also turn them into cats.
See the Stars of ' Hocus Pocus.
Enough Hocus Pocus, Rely on Real Reporting.
Mike Dahl to hold ' Hocus Pocus Hotel' book signing.
Magic Hat's Hocus Pocus takes it nice and easy in wheat country.
On Hocus -Pocus Clothing, Gear Reviews, and Integrity.
Texas Tech has not needed hocus -pocus to beat Sooners.
Hocus Pocus party and a plan for leftover Halloween candy on Todd Chance's playlist.
When it comes to Halloween movies, the hands-down favorite in the Greg "Splashin'" McShea household is the 1993 film, "Hocus Pocus".
Ahhhh, 'Hocus Pocus' — the story of three evil (singing and dancing) witches who like to eat children and sometimes also turn them into cats.
Mike Dahl to hold 'Hocus Pocus Hotel' book signing.
On Hocus-Pocus Clothing, Gear Reviews, and Integrity.
Texas Tech has not needed hocus-pocus to beat Sooners.
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