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Abracadabra

Abracadabra is a word with a very ancient origin. We will look at the meaning of the term abracadabra, several theories concerning its origin, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Abracadabra is an incantation used by stage magicians when performing a trick. In this context, the word abracadabra has no literal meaning. However, in ancient times the word abracadabra was considered to be a mystical incantation with great power. The oldest mention of the word abracadabra is found in the work De Medicina Praecepta Saluberrima written by Quintus Serenus in the second century. In this book, Serenus recommends that the word abracadabra be written in the form of an inverted pyramid, writing the word abracadabra on each line, leaving one more letter off the end of the word each time until the last line consists of simply the letter a. He prescribed that this parchment be worn around the neck as an amulet to ward off disease. It is assumed that the word abracadabra was known as a powerful incantation long before Serenus recorded it. There are several theories as to the origin of this word. The first is that it is derived from the Aramaic phrase avra kadavra, which translates as “it will be created with my words”. The second origin theory is that abracadabra is a compound word composed of the Hebrew words Av (Father), Ben (Son) and Ruach Ha Codesch (Holy Spirit). A third theory is that it came from the name Abrasax, a mystical name used by the Gnostic Basilides in Alexandria.


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Examples

They all said, “Abracadabra,” “Trick or Treat” and “Happy Halloween” as they stood and posed for pictures with the judge, their mother and other relatives. (The Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Currently celebrating 50 years as a songwriter and performer, Miller is known for chart-topping hits “Fly Like An Eagle,” “Rock’n Me,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Jet Airliner,” “Abracadabra” and “Jungle Love,” among many others, and is living testament to rock’s continued power and relevance. (The Long Island Press)

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