Definitions

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

  • n. Ritual recitation of verbal charms or spells to produce a magic effect.
  • n. A formula used in ritual recitation; a verbal charm or spell.
  • n. A conventionalized utterance repeated without thought or aptness; a formula: the pious incantations of the administration.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act or process of using formulas and/or usually rhyming words, sung or spoken, with occult ceremonies, for the purpose of raising spirits, producing enchantment, or creating other magical results.
  • n. A formula of words used as above.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or process of using formulas sung or spoken, with occult ceremonies, for the purpose of raising spirits, producing enchantment, or affecting other magical results; enchantment.
  • n. A formula of words used as above.
  • n. The repetitive invoking of old sayings, or emitting a wordy discourse with little or no meaning, to avoid serious discussion; obfuscation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The art or act of enchanting by uttering magical words, with ceremonies supposed to have magical power; also, the formula of words or the ceremony employed.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a ritual recitation of words or sounds believed to have a magical effect

Etymologies

Middle English incantacioun, from Old French incantation, from Late Latin incantātiō, incantātiōn-, spell, from Latin incantātus, past participle of incantāre, to enchant; see enchant.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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