ab·​ra·​ca·​dab·​ra ˌa-brə-kə-ˈda-brə How to pronounce abracadabra (audio)
: a magical charm or incantation
: unintelligible language

Examples of abracadabra in a Sentence

originally, an abracadabra was a cryptogram of the word “abracadabra” that was repeated in diminishing form until it disappeared entirely—supposedly just like the targeted evil or misfortune after some abracadabra the spiritualist announced that we had made contact with “the other side”
Recent Examples on the Web Make the Boston Celtics vanish on abracadabra? Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, 18 May 2022 His utilization of terms like irreducible complexity is about as substantive as chanting abracadabra, but probably just as effective in convincing fellow travelers already sympathetic to his position as shamans were in the days of yore. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 5 Sep. 2011 That’s seven steps to make abracadabra, whose molecular assembly number is thus seven. Sarah Scoles, Scientific American, 13 Jan. 2023 It's got lots of entries for inquisitive younglings, from abracadabra to zombies. Phil Plait, Discover Magazine, 12 Aug. 2011 And there’s an abracadabra quality of pulling a bed out nowhere. Christine Lennon, Sunset Magazine, 11 Feb. 2022 The smoke from Luka Doncic’s latest abracadabra moment still hangs in the air, along with our collective state of disbelief. Dallas News, 15 Apr. 2021 When someone pushed the button — abracadabra — the bus went from Boston to New York, just like that. James Barron, New York Times, 11 Oct. 2019 And that the shareholders will then subsequently spend that money buying things—a new car, a new refrigerator, perhaps—and abracadabra, the economy will be set on fire for the first time in more than a decade. William D. Cohan, The Hive, 13 Dec. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abracadabra.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Late Latin, of obscure origin

First Known Use

1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of abracadabra was in 1565

Dictionary Entries Near abracadabra

Cite this Entry

“Abracadabra.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abracadabra. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ab·​ra·​ca·​dab·​ra ˌab-rə-kə-ˈdab-rə How to pronounce abracadabra (audio)
: a magical charm or word
: unintelligible language : jargon

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