An incantation or incantations are the words spoken during a ritual, either a hymn or prayer invoking or praising a deity, or in magic, occultism, witchcraft with the intention of casting a spell or an object or a person. The term derives from Latin "incantare" (tr.), meaning "to chant (a magical spell) upon," from "in-" "into, upon" and "cantare" "to sing".

In medieval literature, folklore, fairy tales and modern fantasy fiction, enchantments (from the Old French "enchantement") are charms or spells. The term was loaned into English since around AD 1300. The corresponding native English term being "galdor" "song, spell". It has led to the terms "enchanter" and "enchantress", for those who use enchantments.

The weakened sense "delight" (compare the same development of "charm") is modern, first attested in 1593 (OED).

ome collections of charms

* The Old English Metrical Charms
* The Carmina Gadelica, a collection of Gaelic oral poetry, much of it charms
* The Atharva Veda, a collection of charms, and the Rigveda, a collection of hymns or incantations
*Hittite ritual texts

In folklore and fiction

In traditional fairy tales or fantasy fiction, an enchantment is a magical spell that is attached, on a relatively-permanent basis, to a specific person, object or location, and alters its qualities, generally in a positive way. The most widely-known example is probably the spell that Cinderella's Fairy Godmother uses to turn a pumpkin into a coach. An enchantment with negative characteristics is usually instead referred to as a curse.

Conversely, enchantments are also used to describe spells that cause no real effects but deceive people, either by directly affecting their thoughts or using some kind of illusions. "Enchantresses" are frequently depicted as able to seduce by such magic. Other forms include deceiving people into believing that they have suffered a magical transformation.

Examples are "Abracadabra" as might be said by a magician during a trick, or the Stunning Spell in the Harry Potter books.

Effects of incantations

To be enchanted is to be under the influence of an enchantment, usually thought to be caused by charms or spells.

The Latin "incantare", which means 'to utter an incantation', or cast a magic spell, forms the basis of the word "enchant", with deep linguistic roots going back to the Indo-European "kan-" prefix. So it can be said that an enchanter or enchantress casts magic spells, or utters incantations, similar to what are called Mantra in Sanskrit.

ee also

*Carmen (verse), the term for an Ancient Roman incantation


*John Clute and John Grant, "The Encyclopedia of Fantasy"

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  • Incantation — Основная информация …   Википедия

  • incantation — [ ɛ̃kɑ̃tasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • XIIIe; bas lat. incantatio, de incantare → enchanter 1 ♦ Emploi de paroles magiques pour opérer un charme, un sortilège; ces paroles. ⇒ enchantement, évocation. « L incantation peut participer à la fois du commandement et… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Incantation — Datos generales Origen Johnstown, Pennsylvania  Estados Unidos …   Wikipedia Español

  • Incantation — In can*ta tion, n. [L. incantatio, fr. incantare to chant a magic formula over one: cf. F. incantation. See {Enchant}.] [1913 Webster] 1. The act or process of using formulas sung or spoken, with occult ceremonies, for the purpose of raising… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Incantation — Allgemeine Informationen Genre(s) Death Metal Gründung 1989 Website …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • incantation — [in΄kan tā′shən, in΄kəntā′shən] n. [ME incantacion < OFr incantation < LL incantatio < pp. of L incantare < in (intens.) + cantare: see CHANT] 1. the chanting of words or formulas that are believed to cast a spell or perform other… …   English World dictionary

  • Incantation — Incantation, lat. deutsch, Bezauberung; incantiren, bezaubern …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • incantation — (n.) late 14c., from O.Fr. incantacion spell, exorcism (13c.), from L. incantationem (nom. incantatio) art of enchanting, noun of action from pp. stem of incantare bewitch, charm, lit. sing spells (see ENCHANTMENT (Cf. enchantment)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • incantation — [n] spell, magic abracadabra*, ala kazam*, bewitchment, black magic, chant, charm, conjuration, conjuring, enchantment, formula, hex, hocus pocus*, hoodoo*, hymn, invocation, mumbo jumbo*, necromancy, open sesame*, rune, sorcery, voodoo*,… …   New thesaurus

  • incantation — Incantation. s. f. Enchantement. Faire des incantations …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • incantation — ► NOUN ▪ words said as a magic spell or charm. DERIVATIVES incantatory adjective. ORIGIN Latin, from incantare chant, bewitch …   English terms dictionary

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