Haven’t we all wondered what do magicians say when they perform those mind-boggling acts? Be it adults or children, magic is an art that manages to capture everyone’s mind and attention. So, here’s a list of some magic words, phrases, and their meanings for you to try and make sense of.
Popular Magician Words and Their Meanings
Some magic words have a specific meaning while most others are used purely for effect as they are fun and sound mysterious. What do magicians say while performing tricks? Here are some examples.
Probably the most popular of all, abracadabra is a word magicians use when they want to make something appear or when a trick is revealed. Although the origin of this word is not known, it is believed to be derived from the Aramaic phrase “avra kehdavra,” loosely translating to “I will create as I speak.”
There was a time when these words were believed to hold real power. Usually uttered in one breath — AbraaaCadabraaa — it flows nicely, is simple and easy to speak, and signifies the magical moment. As most magicians call on children to do some tricks, this works wonderfully as children can say it without any difficulty.
Who hasn’t yelled out “Ta-da” to reveal something exciting! Magicians also use this word commonly as it is easy to say and rolls effortlessly off the tongue. The syllable has a positive feel to it, making it a fun word to say enthusiastically and is generally used to indicate the end of a trick. Typically said out in a sing-song way — Ta-daaaa — you can’t help but smile when saying it.
Ta-da is sometimes also said with excitement right when a magic trick is about to be revealed. Since it has only two rhyming syllables, it’s easy for even small children to understand. Sometimes magicians use it to make a moment light. For example, if they choose a wrong card or make a small mistake, they say “Ta-da” as they know it’ll invite a laugh from the crowd.
Magicians use this word to signify the end of a trick by pointing towards something. It also serves as an applause cue and an exclamation point. Besides, magicians can use it to cover up a mistake, handle a small accident, or a moment of embarrassment. Magicians might look up and jokingly say “Wallaaa” as if to say it’s what they meant to do. As everyone understands the joke, it usually makes the audience smile or laughs.
This practice is also used to build up an effect. When the magic finally transpires, the crowd goes wild with all the pre-created tension. Derived from the French word Voila, meaning “it is here,” Wallah is easier to pronounce and is a lot clearer as compared to Voila, especially for children. It also sounds great, flows easily off the tongue, and is usually uttered melodiously similar to holding a music note — Wallaaaaah.
Alakazam is another common magic word but relatively recent as compared to the other common ones. A derivative of “abracadabra,” the word “Alakazam” is said to have originated from the Arabic language.
Alakazam is used by magicians when they want to depict the invocation of magical powers or to signify an immediate appearance or transformation of an object.
A relatively recent addition to magicians’ dictionary, this word is usually used as an expression of wonderment. Magicians use this term to conjure a sudden or unexpected object from thin air. It sounds exotic and exciting!
And now with a superhero movie by the same name, it’s also become very popular among children.
Popular Magician Phrases and Their Meanings
6. Sim Sala Bim
This phrase was popularized by magician Dante in the early 20th century. Derived from a Danish nursery rhyme, 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 finality.
7. Presto Chango
This phrase comes from the word “presto,” meaning quickly. Magicians usually say this when transforming 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 tricky act. Though there are many theories surrounding its origin, many believe it’s just a fancy phrase that developed just for its sound as it easily rhymes and rolls off the tongue easily, making it perfect for kids.
9. Ala Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Popularized in 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 movie Cinderella when the Fairy Godmother waves her wand to transform the pumpkin into a carriage, some magicians use this phrase while performing for kids. It’s a feel-good phrase that’s usually accompanied by a wand wave for more emphasis.
11. Open Sesame
Magicians love this phrase as it’s memorable, sounds funny, and sounds mystifying. 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 light-hearted phrase that’s easy to understand, it’s very popular among children and adults alike.
12. For the First Time
Magicians use this phrase to build wonder and suspense around a magic trick. They usually say it before revealing something to lead the audience to a higher level of conviction.
It’s also used to build credibility. For instance, a magician might say, “For the first time, name your card” or “For the first time, think of a word” to add mystery to the trick. It’s a way of emphasizing that there’s no way for the magician to know about the spectator’s card. It usually makes the trick more impressive and incredible.
What Do Magicians Say Before, During, and After A Trick?
Magicians have some standard phrases and words that they use before, during, and after a trick. Let’s take a look at a few common ones.
Before A Trick
• Are you ready?
• Get Ready to be Amazed!
• Sim Sala Bim
• Look, look, look!
• Hocus Pocus
• Check this out!
• Open Sesame
• Presto Chango
• A La Peanut Butter Sandwiches
During A Trick
• Don’t Blink or You’ll Miss It
• Just a 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 Very Much.
• Please Give a Round of Applause to My Helper.
• It’s Magic!
• Do You Want to See Another Trick?
• A Good Magician Never Repeats a Trick.
• I Don’t Even Know How It Is Done.
Why Do They Say It?
Magicians say these mysterious, odd, and sometimes funny-sounding words and phrases for various reasons. They say it before a trick to get the audience to focus their attention on them.
They use them while performing a trick either to build suspense and wonder or to distract the audience and divert their attention from the focus point so that they can pull off a trick smoothly. It also makes the trick more memorable and stronger in memory.
They say them after a trick to indicate the end of a trick and as a cue for the audience to react or applaud.
Popular Quotes on Magician Sayings
#1. “Magicians have done controlled testing in human perception for thousands of years.” — Teller
#2. “A good magician’s performance tells a story. Each act should build on the next, becoming ever more engaging to fill the audience with wonder. It’s a bud that unfurls into a flower, meant to woo the audience.” — 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 much in common: they both have to draw our attention away from what they are really doing.” — Ben Okri
#5. “Most magicians are afraid of magic.” — Max Maven
#6. “A magician with decreasing practice sessions will give defective performances.” — Amit Kalantri
#7. “Magic is not what magicians can do, but what they can’t do.” — Marty Rubin
#8. “It is the unspoken ethic of all magicians to not reveal the 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 the trick is the most important thing, but I’m more interested in telling a story.” — Marco Tempest
#12. “Suspend for a moment your disbelief and encounter once again the sense of wonder you knew when there was magic!” — Andrew Lord
#13. “The art of a magician is to create wonder. If we live with a sense of wonder, our lives become filled with joy. ” — Doug Henning
#14. “Magicians can do more by means of faith than physicians by the truth.” — Giordano Bruno
#15. “Conjuring is the only absolutely honest profession: A conjuror promises to deceive and does.” — Karl Germain
#16. “Nothing must be left to chance in a magical performance. Everything conducive to enhancing the mystery of the illusions must be arranged with painstaking care and thought.” — David Devant
#17. “The average man is not hard to mystify.” — Howard Thurston
#18. “He is indeed the true enchanter, whose spell operates, not upon the senses, but upon the imagination and the heart.” — Washington Irving
A Few Parting Words
If you’ve been wondering about what do magicians say, I hope this has answered your question. I’ve given you quite a long list of magic words and phrases magicians usually use. So go on, use some of these words, maybe during your next party, and sprinkle some fun into your conversations!