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#60361 03/10/02 03:49 AM
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Keiva Offline OP
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Where does the word abracadabra come from?

Websters says, "unknown origin".

AHD says, "late latin", with no more detail. I'm no latin scholar; does it sound like latin?

OED is not available to me, but a book on my shelf (published 1989) quotes OED as saying "origin unknown". Is that still what OED says?

The same 1989 book references the cabalistic writings of Issac Luria (1534-72) listing the various angels (Gabriel, Michael, Raphael) and devils (Lilith, Belial, Azazel), and says that Abracadabra is the name of one of the devils. It suggests that this traces back to ancient cuneiform scripts.

Can anyone illuminate?


#60362 03/10/02 02:57 PM
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wwh Offline
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Dear Keiva: Here is what Straight Dope had to say about abracadabra:
http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a990326.html


#60363 03/13/02 01:57 AM
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A scientist and poet -- a sort of a fire-breathing dragonfly by temperament -- flitted through here some months ago and departed, parts unknown, troubled by the same question and waking no small ruckus behind her. Maybe no ruckus at all. We agreed, she and I, abaracadabarav is Aramaic. But all is not harmony and likely never will be, and we never came to terms on just what it might be Aramaic for. I can't remember what *she* said, but I still maintain it means "I will do according to you word." Or, to put it another way, "Your will be done." Lord knows. Added to which "And I never did see her again" makes a ballad and lament.


#60364 03/13/02 10:39 AM
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Added to which "And I never did see her again" makes a ballad and lament. -inselpeter

Gee inselpeter, your scientist, poet, fire-breathing dragonfly might have flown, but she left some of her poetry behind with you.


#60365 03/13/02 11:12 AM
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That Semitic interpretation is plausible. I can't remember enough about Aramaic to comment, but the bits all look close to the appropriate Hebrew or Arabic bits.

a- Prefix 'I' used in imperfect and future forms.

bara The word 'created' in Genesis 1.1, not the usual Hebrew word for 'made'. (But this is perfective, so wouldn't take the a- prefix.)

ka 'like, as'

dabar 'word'

and finally a possessive suffix, though -ka is the Semitic for 'your' masculine singular.


#60366 03/13/02 09:45 PM
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Where does the word abracadabra come from?

From a major ladie's undergarment maker. Like the Wonder Bra, the abracada-bra magically lifts and separates.



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