The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Hocus Pocus

Hocus Pocus is a generic term used by magicians, usually the magic words spoken when bringing about some sort of change. The origins of the term remain obscure. Some believe it originates from the latin form of the Roman Catholic eucharist, when the priest says " hoc est enim corpus meum," or " hoc est corpus" (this is the body), which, through transubstantiation, is supposed to turn the wafer into the body of Jesus.

Others believe that it is an appeal to the Norse folklore magician Ochus Bochus . The Welsh, hovea pwca (a goblin's trick, or hoax) could also be the source. Or it may simply be imitation latin with no meaning, made up to impress people. It was a common term for a magician, juggler or other similar entertainer.

The first recorded speculation on its origin was in 1624 by the English prelate John Tillotson.

"I will speak of one man ... that went about in King James his time ... who called himself, the Kings Majesties most excellent Hocus Pocus, and so was called, because that at the playing of every Trick, he used to say, Hocus pocus, tontus tabantus, vade celeriter jubeo, a dark composure of words, to blinde the eyes of the beholders, to make his Trick pass the more currently without discovery." Thomas Ady , "A Candle in the Dark" 1655

Hocus Pocus is also

An adjective to describe marijuana of really bad quality

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Last updated: 05-23-2005 00:56:43