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Magic Words: A Dictionary Paperback – October 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Weiser Books (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578634342
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578634347
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A vividly written introduction includes contemplations on ritual and pronunciation, and each multi-paragraph entry explains meanings, origins, and literary references. --Library Journal, October 2008

”I am in awe of the volume and variety of the usages and references discussed: the research seems monumental. . . . Recommended as a very useful resource...“ ---Phil Willmarth, Linking Ring Magazine

”Wonderful.“ ---Graham P. Collins, editor of Scientific American

”[A]n impressive work. . . “ ---Brad Henderson, MAGIC, The Magazine for Magicians

About the Author

When it comes to his research Craig Conley has often been called a "language fanatic" by gossip columnist Cindy Adams and a "cult hero" by Publisher's Weekly. His exhaustive research led him to compile Magic Words: A Dictionary. He is also the author of One-Letter Words: A Dictionary and a regular columnist for Pentacle magazine. He lives in Florida and Wales, UK.

More About the Author

CRAIG CONLEY has been called "a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure" (Clint Marsh), "America's most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation" (Encarta), a "language fanatic" (Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams), and a "cult hero" (Publisher's Weekly). An eccentric scholar, Conley's ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the "virtual pet" in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular "Tamagotchi" in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley's ONE-LETTER WORDS: A DICTIONARY is published by HarperCollins, and his MAGIC WORDS: A DICTIONARY is published by Weiser Books.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
Most of the things you need to know and more in one handy volume.
Gildor Inglorion
This is the perfect gift for a word lover, a writer, or anyone who delights in obscure and wonderfully-produced books.
Gordon Meyer
Well-written and fun to read, Magic Words is a very generous and well researched book.
R. Bakhtiari

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Marais on January 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Magic Words is more than a dictionary - it is an impassioned call to writers, magicians and laypeople to bring magic back into their vocabulary. It is, in fact, an incantation calling forth the demons hidden within our speech, and no reader will finish this book without succumbing to its spell.

Let there be no doubt about it: Conley is on a mission to promote literacy, and his love of words possesses the cabbalistic reverence of an alchemist in pursuit of gold. For it is in the meaning of each word, of each letter of each word, that we discover the mysterious powers of language - or, as the author puts it, it is the inherent enchantment of the word that gives literature its magical influence. And this book will influence you in a most magical way.

Anthony Marais, author of "The Cure"
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Janet Boyer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
"This book seeks to read deep into the glimmering treasure-chest of magic words and reinstate the dignity to a dusty, subsidiary treasury--the little jewel box full of terms that have lost their sparkle over the years." - From Magic Words

A memorable performance at Hollywood's Magic Castle inspired "language fanatic" Craig Conley to create Magic Words: A Dictionary (Weiser Books). One would suppose that it was a grand illusion that incited his epiphany, or even a remarkable display of prestidigitation.

However, no wand waving impelled Conley to write this 352-page compendium. Surprisingly, it was the twice-whispered word from an audience member after a trick's dramatic reveal: Voila!

Voila, she said, "like an efficient script girl prompting a delinquent stage actor's lines from behind the curtain"--almost trying to will the magician to finish his feat by uttering some type of magic word. (Alas, the performer ignored her desperate cue.)

It was then that Conley, an eccentric researcher, realized "precisely what was missing from an otherwise flawless display": it was the "sheer vibrancy and urgency of magic words" that was revealed in that audience member's "genuine desperation, rooted in legitimate expectation."

The first 48-pages of Magic Words are utterly fascinating, with Conley an engaging tour guide through literary, philosophical, cultural and spiritual landscapes--realms dotted with landmarks that pay homage to the power of magical utterances (and, sometimes, even to silence and mysterious glyphs).
Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chela on December 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
I just got "Magic Words: A Dictionary." What fun! Magic words taken from literature, plays, movies; all the way from Ovid to Shakespeare to Ronald Hutton to J.K. Rowling!

Each word is presented as a word (with variations, if any) and then
in a quote, and then meanings are given from many historical sources.

It would be interesting to sprinkle them in my conversation or journal writing or even for magic! Alakazam and abracadabra and hocus pocus, but also Hola Noa Massa, and Lit Flitt Latt Flight, and Shubismack. They are even just fun to say.

There is also an Appendix of "magic words" used by people in various professions - "action" for movies, "troubleshoot" for computer technicians.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Bakhtiari on October 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
I don't even know where to begin. I found this book delightful! I have been studying magic for a few years now and have not until now found such a fun and interesting (and well-researched) resource for the origins of so many terms we commonly use. And more that I was just curious about. Well-written and fun to read, Magic Words is a very generous and well researched book. I love it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Meyer on October 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a rare treat. Not only will you admire the depth and breadth of the author's research, nearly every page has a fascinating tidbit for you to discover. It's exactly the kind of book you show to friends with a "Hey, check out this cool...". This is the perfect gift for a word lover, a writer, or anyone who delights in obscure and wonderfully-produced books.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ed Raube on April 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As much as the book is listed as "a dictionary", it is more of type of a book that you would sit down and read for pleasure, not necessarily to be used as a reference book that sits on a shelf and used only when needed.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
Any interested in the words and philosophy of Wicca and magic will find MAGIC WORDS a fascinating dictionary packed with magic words and phrases from around the world. Over seven hundred essay-style entries probe the origins of magical words, their history, and their variations. Sources range from ancient Medieval alchemists to modern necromancers and magical legends, making for a fine trivia and study reference.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. Harrelson on August 29, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a deep love of comprehensive texts and when I bought this I wasn't really sure what I was buying. So, I was very pleased when I received it and saw how much it contained and how many references it gave for it's entries. It's a great source for historical reference of phrases we hear all the time. Bippity-Boppity-Boo!
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