The Sounds of Magic

Abracadabra

Abracadabra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Poof!
Presto!
Alakazam!
Abracadabra!
[Open/close] Sesame!

Over the last week I’ve found myself fascinated by these words/sounds; it started with “poof,” when I realized that for nearly everyone, it immediately denotes one and only one thing: a puff of smoke associated with some sudden mystical occurrence. (Aside from the derogatory slang for a gay man, that is.)

These terms have been debased by overuse in tawdry showmanship…but do they have deeper origins? What are those origins? Did they ever have real meaning or real power? And what connotations do they have for you?

For example, I have newfound respect for “abracadabra” after reading the Wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abracadabra

…and I’ve fallen in love with the proposed Hebrew etymology and how it translates.

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