hocus pocus

\ \ [17] Hocus pocus came from a phoney Latin phrase – in full hax pax max Deus adimax – used by travelling conjurers to impress their audiences. It was originally used for such a ‘conjurer’, or for a ‘trickster’ in general (‘a Persian hocus pocus performed rare tricks with hands and feet’, Sir Thomas Herbert, Travels into Africa and the Greater Asia 1634), but this had largely died out by the end of the 17th century, leaving ‘trickery, deception’ in full possession. Hoax [18] probably originated as a shortened version of hocus.
\ \ Cf.HOAX

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hocus Pocus — Hocus pocus, hocus pocus, or hokus pokus is a term used by magicians, usually the magic words spoken when bringing about some sort of change. It may also refer to: Contents 1 Books 2 Film and television 3 Music 4 …   Wikipedia

  • Hocus pocus — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Hocus Pocus est une locution utilisée par les magiciens. On la retrouve en outre dans : Sommaire 1 Résumé 2 Cinéma …   Wikipédia en Français

  • hocus-pocus — 1620s, Hocas Pocas, common name of a magician or juggler, a sham Latin invocation used in tricks, probably based on a perversion of the sacramental blessing from the Mass, Hoc est corpus meum This is my body. The first to make this speculation on …   Etymology dictionary

  • hocus-pocus — [hō′kəspō′kəs] n. [imitation L, prob. altered < hax pax (max Deus adimax), arbitrary magic formula attributed to medieval traveling scholars] 1. meaningless words used as a formula by conjurers 2. a magician s trick or trickery; sleight of… …   English World dictionary

  • Hocus-pocus — Ho cus po cus, n. [Prob. invented by jugglers in imitation of Latin. Cf. {Hoax}, {Hocus}.] 1. A term used by magicians or conjurers in pretended incantations. [1913 Webster] 2. A juggler or trickster. [Archaic] Sir T. Herbert. [1913 Webster] 3. A …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hocus-pocus — Ho cus po cus, v. t. To cheat. [Colloq.] L Estrange. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hocus pocus — Hocus pocus, 1) Wörter, welche Taschenspieler bei ihren Kunststücken aussprechen. Man hat die etymologische Abstammung dieser Formel von hoc est corpus aus dem Missale; od. von dem wallisischen hocced, Betrug; od. dem englischen pocke, Tasche u.a …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Hocus Pocus — Hocus Pocus, S. Hokus Pokus …   Grammatisch-kritisches Wörterbuch der Hochdeutschen Mundart

  • hocus-pocus — mummery, *gibberish, abracadabra …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • hocus-pocus — [n] deception, magic abracadabra*, artifice, cant, chant, charm, cheating, chicanery, conjuring, deceit, delusion, flimflam*, fraud, gibberish, gobbledegook*, hoax, humbug, imposture, incantation, jargon, juggling, legerdemain, mumbo jumbo*,… …   New thesaurus

  • hocus-pocus — ► NOUN 1) meaningless talk used to deceive. 2) a form of words used by a conjuror. ORIGIN from hax pax max Deus adimax, a pseudo Latin phrase used as a magic formula by conjurors …   English terms dictionary

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