Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Scots A magic spell; a witch's trick.
  • n. Chiefly British A deceptive move; a sham.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A spell or incantation; a trifling magic trick.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A charm; a spell; an incantation.
  • n. A piece of mischief artfully or adroitly performed; a trick.

Etymologies

Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Origin Unknown (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Once inside, I dried myself with a cantrip and for the first time in three years, I marked the threshold with my musk.

    Crossed

  • ~ The wizard drops a daze cantrip on the other one so the cleric can grapple him without suffering an AOO, and the cleric then holds down the gobby while the rogue lays down the coup de grace.

    D&D 4e’s Out… And It’s Awful. Here’s Why « Geek Related

  • Taking the idea from Pathfinder that cantrips and orisons can be cast ‘at-will’ (pretty much), all the at will powers can be become a cantrip or orison; or we can give other classes a new name – i.e. ‘maneuver’

    D&D 4e’s Out… And It’s Awful. Here’s Why « Geek Related

  • I took the little cantrip and tucked it into the band of my jeans where my belt would keep it pressed against me.

    Vicious Grace

  • He couldn't use a cantrip to unlock the door from outside, either, even if he knew the right spell, because the locks were counterspelled against just that.

    Tran Siberian

  • A scant quarter-chime later, Lycaelon Tavadon strode down the main thoroughfare of Armethalieh, his heavily embroidered black-on-silver Arch-Mage robes belling behind him with the force of his passage, and the wide-brimmed, pointed hat that matched them held on to his head by a clever cantrip.

    Tran Siberian

  • Speaking was only a way of catching her attention, to key the prepared cantrip that would place her into a trance so that he could do the work that must be done.

    Tran Siberian

  • Lycaelon frowned, and marshaled a small cantrip, one foolishly relied upon far too often by Student'Apprentices: Knowing That Which Is Written.

    Tran Siberian

  • Lycaelon smiled, radiating charm-a simple enough cantrip, really, among the many every High Mage always kept in readiness for situations such as this.

    Tran Siberian

  • This cantrip allows the caster to cause any single animal within 20' to make the loudest vocal sound of which it is capable.

    Glistening Death - Gaming

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Comments

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  • as opposed to may-trip?(in any month)

    September 12, 2012

  • "Julia had logged another couple of telephone-pole paint blobs, one of which she'd stopped and studied quite closely using some kind of visual cantrip that he hadn't caught because she hadn't wanted him to catch it—she actually hid it with one hand as she cast it with the other."
    The Magician King by Lev Grossman, p 128

    August 23, 2011

  • And indeed Ellen was sitting there very stiffly, turning her hands together and looking down on them as if she despised them for their cantrips.

    - Rebecca West, The Judge

    July 29, 2009

  • 1. (Scot.) A magic spell, a witch's trick.
    2. (Chiefly British) A deceptive move; a sham.
    3) (Fantasy) A spell associated with words, as opposed to a spell associated with a hand gesture.
    (From WWFTD)

    June 7, 2008

  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
    Pronunciation: \ˈkan-trəp\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: probably alteration of caltrop
    Date: 1719
    1chiefly Scottish : a witch's trick : spell
    2chiefly British : hocus-pocus

    February 11, 2008