Definitions

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

  • Houdini, Harry 1874-1926. American magician known for his escapes from chains, handcuffs, straitjackets, and padlocked containers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. The magician and escape artist Harry Houdini.
  • n. An escape artist.
  • v. to appear, vanish, or escape a difficult situation quickly.

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

  • n. United States magician (born in Hungary) famous for his ability to escape from chains or handcuffs or straitjackets or padlocked containers (1874-1926)

Etymologies

Invented by Harry Houdini from the French magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • JOSEPH TACOPINA, HOUDINI FAMILY ATTORNEY: The Houdini case is a mystery because the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, the unanswered questions surrounding his death, and the medical impossibilities attributed to his death have caused this family to want answers.

    CNN Transcript Mar 24, 2007

  • HOUDINI The great escape Vol. 1 (Intro to Materials and Shaders in Houdini)

    News

  • As early as 1899 the word Houdini began to be used synonymously with escape.

    The Secret Life of Houdini

  • Years before, a female imitator had the gall to call herself “Miss Lincoln Houdini,” with the word Houdini being triple the size of Lincoln.

    The Secret Life of Houdini

  • Mr. Parvaiz's bail was tripled after Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi told Middlesex Superior Court Judge Robert Manahan that the pair had discussed pulling what they referred to as a "Houdini act" in text messages exchanged prior to the slaying.

    Husband Denies Murder Role

  • He talked of adopting the name Houdini—“The name…was like magic…It stuck.”

    The Secret Life of Houdini

  • He was successful, but ironically, he didn’t understand that as a verb, “houdinize” was meaningless, since the word Houdini had already become a noun and adjective.

    The Secret Life of Houdini

  • More than 80 years after his death, Houdini is still referred to as the greatest magician who ever lived, or disappeared.

    The Magic Of Harry Houdini's Staying Power

  • Search for them with a 3/16-ounce shaky-head jig dressed with a 4-inch green pumpkin Houdini Worm on 6-pound line.

    Field & Stream Q&A: Bass Pro Terry Scroggins

  • 'Intelligent cause' can't explain Houdini's tricks on its own, but it could (to me, certainly is) well be a property of the explanation.

    Bunny and a Book

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