hocus-pocus [hoh-kuhs-poh-kuhs] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin See more synonyms for hocus-pocus on Thesaurus.com noun

  1. a meaningless chant or expression used in conjuring or incantation.
  2. a juggler’s trick; sleight of hand.
  3. trickery; deception.
  4. unnecessarily mysterious or elaborate activity or talk to cover up a deception, magnify a simple purpose, etc.

verb (used with object), ho·cus-po·cused, ho·cus-po·cus·ing or (especially British) ho·cus-po·cussed, ho·cus-po·cus·sing.

  1. to play tricks on or with.

verb (used without object), ho·cus-po·cused, ho·cus-po·cus·ing or (especially British) ho·cus-po·cussed, ho·cus-po·cus·sing.

  1. to perform tricks; practice trickery or deception.

Origin of hocus-pocus First recorded in 1615–25; pseudo-Latin rhyming formula used by jugglers and magiciansSynonyms for hocus-pocus See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com 3. deceit, dishonesty, hanky-panky, double-dealing. Related Words for hocus-pocus abracadabra, mystification, nonsense, hoax, incantation, cant, artifice, jargon, cheating, deception, trickery, imposture, delusion, spell, flimflam, chicanery, charm, deceit, swindle, humbug Examples from the Web for hocus-pocus Historical Examples of hocus-pocus

  • With hocus-pocus like that no dog is lured from the stove in the real world.

    Erdgeist (Earth-Spirit)

    Frank Wedekind

  • They regard it fixedly as hocus-pocus, childish if not wicked.

    Tongues of Conscience

    Robert Smythe Hichens

  • You at any rate are not a simpleton to be taken in by any sort of hocus-pocus.


    Owen Gregory

  • Theres your own prestige too, and all the hocus-pocus and mummery that you know how to work on them.

    The Exiles of Faloo

    Barry Pain

  • His holiness made his hocus-pocus with the greatest devotion.

    Sketches of Central Asia (1868)

    Arminius Vmbry

  • British Dictionary definitions for hocus-pocus hocus-pocus noun

    1. trickery or chicanery
    2. mystifying jargon
    3. an incantation used by conjurors or magicians when performing tricks
    4. conjuring skill or practice

    verb -cuses, -cusing, -cused, -cuses, -cussing or -cussed

    1. to deceive or trick (someone)

    Word Origin for hocus-pocus C17: perhaps a dog-Latin formation invented by jugglers Word Origin and History for hocus-pocus

    1620s, Hocas Pocas, common name of a magician or juggler, a sham-Latin invocation used in tricks, probably based on a perversion of the sacramental blessing from the Mass, Hoc est corpus meum “This is my body.” The first to make this speculation on its origin apparently was English prelate John Tillotson (1630-1694).

    I will speak of one man … that went about in King James his time … who called himself, the Kings Majesties most excellent Hocus Pocus, and so was called, because that at the playing of every Trick, he used to say, Hocus pocus, tontus tabantus, vade celeriter jubeo, a dark composure of words, to blinde the eyes of the beholders, to make his Trick pass the more currantly without discovery. [Thomas Ady, “A Candle in the Dark,” 1655]

    51 queries 0.577