A magical word said to be formed from the letters of the abraxas, written thus:
or the reverse way. The pronunciation of this word, according to Julius Africanus, was equally efficacious either way. According to Serenus Sammonicus, it was used as a spell to cure asthma. Abracalan, or aracalan, another form of the word, is said to have been regarded as the name of a god in Syria and as a magical symbol by the Jews. It seems doubtful whether the abracadabra, or its synonyms, was really the name of a deity.
Lévi, Éliphas. Transcendental Magic. London: Rider, 1896. Reprint, New York: Samuel Weiser, 1970.
ABRACADABRA , magic word or formula used mainly in folk medicine, as an incantation against fevers and inflammations. Several origins for the obscure word have been proposed, most of them regarding it as a derivative of an Aramaic demon-name, now unrecognizable. It occurs first in the writings of Severus Sammonicus, a gnostic physician of the second century c.e. In the same manner as Abracadabra, the name of Shabriri, the demon of blindness, and other magic words were used in Jewish magic, incantations, and amulets. An amulet still in use among some Oriental Jews utilizes a talmudic formula:
(Pes. 112a; Av. Zar. 12b)
J. Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition (1939), 80 ff., 116 ff.; ej, 1 (1928), 372 ff.
ab·ra·ca·dab·ra / ˌabrəkəˈdabrə/ • interj. a word said by magicians when performing a magic trick. • n. inf. an implausibly easy effort to achieve a seemingly difficult feat: a little abracadabra, and you've got chocolate mousse. ∎ language, typically in the form of gibberish, used to give the impression of arcane knowledge or power.
abracadabra (ăb´rəkədăb´rə), magical formula used by the Gnostics (see Gnosticism) to invoke the aid of benevolent spirits to ward off disease and affliction. It is supposed to be derived from the abraxas, a word that was engraved on gems and amulets or was variously worn as a protective charm. Handed down through the Middle Ages, the abracadabra gradually lost its occult significance, and its meaning was extended to cover any hocus-pocus.