Incantation

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Origin

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

Definitions

Synonyms

abracadabra, bewitchment, charm, conjuration, enchantment, glamour (also glamor), hex, spell, invocation, whammy

Description

An incantation or enchantment is a charm or spell created using words. An incantation may take place during a ritual, either a hymn or prayer, and may invoke or praise a deity. In magic, occultism, witchcraft it may be used with the intention of casting a spell on an object or a person. The term derives from Latin "incantare" (tr.), meaning "to chant (a magical spell) upon," from in- "into, upon" and cantare "to sing".

In medieval literature, folklore, fairy tales and modern fantasy fiction, enchantments (from the Old French "enchantement") are charms or spells. The term was loaned into English since around AD 1300. The corresponding native English term being "galdor" "song, spell". It has led to the terms "enchanter" and "enchantress", for those who use enchantments.

The weakened sense "delight" (compare the same development of "charm") is modern, first attested in 1593 (OED).

Effects

To be enchanted is to be under the influence of an enchantment, usually thought to be caused by charms or spells.

The Latin incantare, which means 'to utter an incantation', or cast a magic spell, forms the basis of the word "enchant", with deep linguistic roots going back to the Proto-Indo-European kan- prefix. So it can be said that an enchanter or enchantress casts magic spells, or utters incantations, similar to what are called Mantra in Sanskrit.

Samples