incantation

noun in·can·ta·tion \ ˌin-ˌkan-ˈtā-shən \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of incantation

:a use of spells or verbal charms spoken or sung as a part of a ritual of magic; also :a written or recited formula of words designed to produce a particular effect

incantational

play \ˌin-ˌkan-ˈtā-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\ adjective

incantatory

play \in-ˈkan-tə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective

Examples of incantation in a Sentence

  1. trying to produce a miracle by incantation

  2. hovering over the sick child, the witch doctor muttered mysterious incantations

Recent Examples of incantation from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incantation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Incantation comes directly from the Latin word incantare, "enchant". Incantare itself has cantare as a root, which reminds us that magic and ritual have always been associated with chanting and music. Incantations have often been in strange languages; "Abracadabra" is a not-so-serious version of an incantation.

Origin and Etymology of incantation

Middle English incantacioun, from Middle French incantation, from Late Latin incantation-, incantatio, from Latin incantare to enchant — more at enchant


INCANTATION Defined for English Language Learners

incantation

noun

Definition of incantation for English Language Learners

  • : a series of words used to make something magic happen



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up incantation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to suppress quietly or indirectly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!