Thursday, January 15, 2009


The magic word sarmoti is actually an acronym coined by magicians Siegfried and Roy. It stands for "Siegfried and Roy: Masters of the Impossible." The acronym echoes a Persian word, sarmadi, which means "eternal, perpetual, divine, eternity" (Francis Joseph Steingass, A Comprehensive Persian-English Dictionary, 1992).

(Thanks, Fred, for suggesting today's magic word.)


In other news, here's a review of our dictionary of magic words:

Words are inherently magical for the writer—also frustrating, obtuse, enchanting and expressive in various moments and times. We struggle with them, delight in them, and weave them together to form significant combinations. Dictionaries are our friends, lists of synonyms our best buddies, and there are many of us who take simple delight in the well-turned phrase. Craig Conley has given us a gift beyond regard: a dictionary of 720 of the words used by (stage) magicians throughout the ages. Who can forget the shiver of delight we felt when hearing "open sesame" in the tale of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves? Or the eternal Abracadabra! and Hocus Pocus? Now we know where they originated, with their meanings, in combinations, and source material. But this is no common dictionary! Conley clearly loves words. "Hocus Pocus: These primal, rhyming syllables echo the transcendental incantations of Latin rites, reverberating through hallowed cloisters. They invoke an ancient, unworldly power, especially when enunciated slowly and authoritatively" (p. 327). Highly recommended for anyone with a taste for words.
—Lisa Mc Sherry, Facing North


Tamara said...

It's great to see all the positive reviews Magic Words is receiving!

I believe that every magician, magic scholar, and language lover should have a copy of this wonderful work in his or her library.

Eccentric Scholar said...

Thank you for the lovely comment, Tamara!