Haven’t we all wondered what magicians say when they perform these mind-blowing acts? Whether adults or children, magic is an art that manages to capture the mind and attention of everyone. So here is a list of some magic words, phrases and their meanings for you to try to make sense of.
Popular magic words and their meanings
Some magic words have a specific meaning, while most others are used purely for effect, as they are fun and mysterious sounding. What do magicians say while performing tricks? Here are some examples.
Probably the most popular of all, abracadabra is a word used by magicians when they want to make something appear or when a trick is revealed. Although the origin of this word is unknown, it is believed to be derived from the Aramaic phrase “avra kehdavra”, which loosely translates as “I will create as I speak”.
There was a time when these words were believed to have real power. Usually pronounced in one breath – AbraaaCadabraaa – it flows well, is simple and easy to speak and means the magic moment. Since most magicians ask children to do some tricks, this works wonderfully as children can tell without any difficulty.
Who hasn’t yelled “Ta-da” to reveal something exciting! This word is also commonly used by magicians as it is easy to say and rolls off the tongue effortlessly. The syllable has a positive feel to it, so it’s a fun word to say with enthusiasm and is generally used to indicate the end of a trick. Usually said with a sing song (Ta-daaaa), you can’t help but smile when you say it.
Ta-da is also sometimes said with excitement when a magic trick is about to be revealed. Since it only has two rhyming syllables, it is easy for even young children to understand. Sometimes magicians use it to make light for a moment. For example, if they pick the wrong card or make a small mistake, they say “Ta-da” as they know it will invite laughter from the crowd.
Magicians use this word to mean the end of a trick by pointing at something. It also serves as a sign of applause and an exclamation mark. In addition, magicians can use it to cover up a mistake, manage a small accident or a moment of embarrassment. Wizards might look up and jokingly say “Wallaaa” as if to say that’s what they wanted to do. Because everyone gets the joke, it usually makes the audience smile or laugh.
This practice is also used to generate an effect. When the magic finally transpires, the crowd goes wild with all the pre-built tension. Derived from the French word Voila, which means “it’s here”, Wallah is easier to pronounce and is much clearer compared to Voila, especially for children. It also sounds great, flowing easily off the tongue and usually melodiously pronounced like holding a musical note: Wallaaaaah.
Alakazam is another common magic word but relatively recent compared to the other common words. A derivative of “abracadabra”, the word “alakazam” is said to come from the Arabic language.
Alakazam is used by magicians when they want to represent the invocation of magical powers or to signify the immediate appearance or transformation of an object.
A relatively recent addition to the wizarding lexicon, this word is typically used as an expression of wonder. Magicians use this term to conjure a sudden or unexpected object out of thin air. Sounds exotic and exciting!
And now with a superhero movie of the same name, it has become very popular among children as well.
Popular wizard phrases and their meanings
6. Sim Sala Bim
This phrase was popularized by the magician Dante in the early 20th century. Derived from a Danish children’s song, magicians say this phrase in a deep, serious and convincing tone, usually as a precursor to a suspenseful trick. Some magicians also use it at the end of a trick along with a bow to indicate purpose.
7. Presto Chango
This phrase comes from the word “presto”, which means quickly. Magicians usually say this when they transform one object into another.
8. Hocus Pocus
Originally used by jugglers, magicians use the phrase “hocus pocus” when they are about to perform a particularly complicated act. Although there are many theories as to its origin, many believe that it is just a fancy phrase that was developed for its sound alone, as it rhymes easily and rolls off the tongue easily, making it perfect for children
9. Peanut butter sandwich wings
Popularized on the TV show Sesame Street by a magician on the show who used this phrase when his tricks went wrong. It’s not a very popular phrase now.
First used in the film Cinderella when the fairy godmother waves her wand to transform the pumpkin into a carriage, some magicians use this phrase while performing for children. It’s a feel-good phrase that’s usually accompanied by a wand wave for added emphasis.
11. Open Sesame
Wizards love this phrase because it’s memorable, it sounds funny, and it sounds puzzling. It first originated in the story Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves when it was used to open a cave. So magicians often use this phrase when a trick involves opening a box or a door. A cheerful phrase that is easy to understand, it is very popular with children and adults alike.
12. For the first time
Magicians use this phrase to create wonder and suspense around a magic trick. They usually say this before revealing something to bring the audience to a higher level of conviction.
It is also used to build credibility. For example, a magician might say, “For the first time, put a name on your card” or “For the first time, think of a word” to add mystery to the trick. It is a way of emphasizing that there is no way for the magician to know about the spectator’s card. It usually makes the trick more impressive and amazing.
What do magicians say before, during and after a trick?
Magicians have some standard phrases and words they use before, during and after a trick. Let’s take a look at some of the common ones.
Before a trick
• Are you ready?
• Prepare to be amazed!
• Sim Sala Bim
• Look, look, look!
• Look at this!
• Open Sesame
• Presto Chango
• A La Peanut Butter Sandwiches
During A Trick
• Don’t blink or you’ll miss it
• It’s worth it
• Only one wave
• Would you be impressed…
• Don’t look away
• Is there any way…
• For the first time
After a trick
• For my next trick.
• You have been a great audience.
• Thank you so much.
• Please give my assistant a round of applause.
• It’s magic!
• Want to see another trick?
• A good magician never repeats a trick.
• I don’t even know how it’s done.
Why do they say that?
Magicians say these mysterious, strange and sometimes funny words and phrases for different reasons. They say this before a trick to get the audience to focus their attention on them.
They use them while performing a trick, either to create suspense and wonder or to distract the audience and take their attention away from the focal point so they can pull off a trick smoothly. It also makes the trick more memorable and stronger in the memory.
They are called after a trick to indicate the end of a trick and as a signal for the audience to react or applaud.
Popular quotes about wizard sayings
#1. “Magicians have conducted controlled tests of human perception for thousands of years.” — Cashier
#2. “A good magician’s performance tells a story. Each act must build on the next, becoming more and more compelling to fill the audience with wonder. It is a bud that unfolds into a flower, meant to seduce the public.” — Laura Lam
#3. “A magician is strong because he feels the pain between what the world is and what he would make of it.” — Lev Grossman
#4. “The magician and the politician have a lot in common: they both need to distract us from what they are really doing.” — Ben Okri
#5. “Most wizards are afraid of magic.” — Max Maven
#6. “A magician with diminishing practice sessions will give flawed performances.” — Amit Kalantri
#7. “Magic is not what magicians can do, but what they cannot do.” — Marty Rubin
#8. “It is the unspoken ethic of all wizards not to reveal secrets.” —David Copperfield
#9. “A magician makes the visible invisible. A mime makes the invisible visible.” — Marcel Marceau
#10 “What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.” —Harry Houdini
#11 “Magicians will always tell you that the trick is the most important thing, but I’m more interested in telling a story.” — Marco Tempest
#12. “Suspend your disbelief for a moment and rediscover the sense of wonder you knew when there was magic!” —Andrew Lord
#13 “The art of a magician is to create wonders. If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives are filled with joy. ” — Doug Henning
#14. “Magicians can do more for faith than doctors for truth.” — Giordano Bruno
#15 “The conjurer is the only absolutely honest profession: a conjurer promises to deceive and does so.” — Karl Germain
#16 “Nothing should be left to chance in a magical performance. Everything that furthers the mystery of illusions must be arranged with care and thought.” — David Devant
#17. “The average man is not difficult to puzzle.” — Howard Thurston
#18 “Indeed, he is the true charmer, whose spell operates not on the senses, but on the imagination and the heart.” —Washington Irving
A few words of farewell
If you were wondering what do the magicians say, I hope this answered your question. I have given you a rather long list of magical words and phrases that are commonly used by magicians. So go ahead, use some of these words, maybe at your next party, and have fun in your conversations!