We’ve all heard the word “Abracadabra” used in popular culture in films, TV shows, and maybe even in social interactions where one would use the word to exclaim a satisfactory outcome at some attempt to make something magical happen… “Abracadabra! The dishes are done! Abracadabra!” …but still they sit in the sink and every roommate groans and moans about the chore.  

The word actually has its origins in magical literature dating back from approximately the 2nd Century BCE.  According to Lecourteux in the Dictionary of Ancient Magic Words and Spells, the word was found on an amulet that was discovered and dated from the era in Greek letters.  The word was written “a ba ga da” and is said to be in acrostic (poetic, or puzzle-like arrangement) form and derived from the Hebrew version “Ha Brakha dabra”.  “Ha Brakha dabra” means, “the blessing has spoken”.  Other sources indicate that it could also be a derivative of Abraxas, an ancient Greek word attributed to Gnosticism.

Magical benefits of the word Abracadabra are said to be effective when writing the actual word out.  Etymologically the word “spelling” is quite literal, and spelling out a word or speaking words is much like doing a spell, as words have power.  Writing out Abracadabra (pictured below) was supposed to magically decrease a fever as the letters in the words shrunk down, in a form of a triangle.

-By Kyle Ford, Assistant Manager