hocus-pocus

noun
ho·​cus-po·​cus | \ ˌhō-kəs-ˈpō-kəs How to pronounce hocus-pocus (audio) \

Definition of hocus-pocus

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : nonsense or sham used especially to cloak deception

hocus-pocus

verb
hocus-pocussed or hocus-pocused; hocus-pocussing or hocus-pocusing

Definition of hocus-pocus (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to play tricks on

Synonyms for hocus-pocus

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

First Known Use of hocus-pocus

Noun

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1774, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hocus-pocus

Noun

probably from hocus pocus, imitation Latin phrase used by jugglers

Learn More About hocus-pocus

Time Traveler for hocus-pocus

Time Traveler

The first known use of hocus-pocus was in 1647

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near hocus-pocus

hocus

hocus-pocus

hod

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for hocus-pocus

Cite this Entry

“Hocus-pocus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hocus-pocus. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!