Definitions

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

  • n. Nonsense words or phrases used as a formula by quack conjurers.
  • n. A trick performed by a magician or juggler; sleight-of-hand.
  • n. Foolishness or empty pretense used especially to disguise deception or chicanery.
  • transitive v. To play tricks on; deceive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • interj. A phrase used as a magical incantation to bring about some change.
  • n. A specific act of trickery or nonsense.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A term used by magicians or conjurers in pretended incantations.
  • n. A juggler or trickster.
  • n. A magician's trick; a cheat; nonsense.
  • n. Obfuscating talk or elaborate but meaningless activity intended to hide a deception or to obscure what is actually happening; verbal misrepresentation intended to take advantage of you in some way.
  • transitive v. To cheat.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A juggler; a trickster.
  • n. A juggler’ trick; a cheat used by conjurers; jugglery.
  • Juggling; cheating.
  • To juggle; deceive; cheat.

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

  • n. verbal misrepresentation intended to take advantage of you in some way

Etymologies

Possibly from an alteration of Latin hoc est corpus (meum), this is (my) body (words used in the Eucharist at the time of transubstantiation).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Dates from the 17th century when used by jugglers and magicians as a nonsense magical incantation. [2]. Some believe it is a corruption of words from the Roman Catholic liturgy of the Eucharist, hoc est corpus meum, although this is disputed. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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