LEARN AT AN EXPERT LEVEL
Magicians are known to recite magic words when performing a trick. I decided to research and gather the most common things said by magicians. Here are the most popular magic words magicians say:
- Wallah (Voila)
- Sim Sala Bim
- Hocus Pocus
- Open Sesame
- Presto Chango
- A La Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Magic words are spoken to make the magic happen and designate the moment the magic takes place. Usually they are said while waving a wand. The most important reason why magicians choose specific magic words is they sound good and roll off the tongue. Some magic words are derived from meaningful words though this isn’t a huge consideration.
PHRASES MAGICIANS USE
The most popular and well known magic words are Wallah, Abracadabra, and Tada. I discuss each of these in depth below. What you will notice about the magic words and phrases listed above is they all are fun and easy to say. Magic words aren’t meant to be meaningful and serious. They are used with kids and therefore have to be silly and funny. There is a lot of theory regarding the origin of magic words, people are overthinking it.
When a magician calls a kid up on stage the kid may be asked to say the magic words. This is the reason the words have to be easy to say and remember. This is critical in choosing the right magic words. A kid on stage saying the magic words and waving a wand is very entertaining to watch. This adds tremendously to the show and is used by all magicians.
Sim Sala Bim was made popular by the magician Dante in the early 1900s. He said it in a very deep and convincing voice. Try it yourself, it is fun to say. Shazam and Alakazam sound similar and are also fun to say. Both have been adopted into pop culture as movie titles and Pokemon characters. Presto Chango comes from the word presto (quickly). This is said by magicians when changing one object into another.
Hocus Pocus, which originally referred to jugglers, is often used to describe anything tricky. “Watch the magician as he does some “hocus pocus.” This phrase has become a big part of pop culture and is the title of a great movie. One of the funniest magic word phrases I have ever heard is “hocus pocus chicken bones choke us.” There is no meaning, it just rhymes and rolls off the tongue. Perfect for kids!
Ala Peanut Butter Sandwiches was said by The Amazing Mumford on Sesame Street. Since that show is long off the air these magic words aren’t really known or used today.
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo was introduced in the film Cinderella. With a wave of her wand the Fairy Godmother transformed an orange pumpkin into a white carriage, a gray horse into a white-haired coachman, 4 brown mice into white horses, and a brown dog into a white-haired man. Kids still say these magic words today. Again, another feel good phrase that is fun to say.
I don’t perform kids shows. Most of the time when I say a magic word it will be the name of the company or client I am working for. I prefer waving my hand over something to make the magic happen. Out of necessity stage magicians have replaced magic words with sound and smoke effects, music, and flashes of light.
WHY DO MAGICIANS SAY WALLAH
The reason magicians say Wallah is because it sounds great, rolls nicely off your tongue, and tells your audience the trick is over. Wallah has a positive and fun feel to it and is usually sung as if you are holding a note- Wallaaaaaah. The word comes from the French word Voila (Vwa-la) which means “here it is.” Wallah is easier to say than Voila and much clearer, especially for kids.
Wallah is generally said after a trick has taken place. Wallaaaaaah. The magician might also gesture towards something while saying Wallah to show the magic has happened. It serves as an exclamation point and is a major applause cue. It symbolizes the end of a trick and lets the audience know it is time to react.
Some magicians use “Wallah” in a comedic way. If a trick fails or something minimal takes place the magician might say “Wallaaaah.” It is sort of a joke. This technique can be used to build up an effect. When the magic finally happens the crowd will go wild because of all the tension created.
Wallah has carried over into pop culture and is even said by non-magicians. For example, let’s say someone accidentally drops a glass and it breaks. Instead of getting embarrassed or upset they might look up and say “Wallaaaaaah.” It is like saying “this is what I meant to do,” in a joking way. Everyone knows what this means and will laugh or smile. This is a fun and light hearted way to handle a normal accident. It is very relatable.
WHY DO MAGICIANS SAY ABRACADABRA
The reason magicians say Abracadabra is because it is fun and easy to say, it flows nicely, has a positive feel to it, and signifies the magical moment. Abracadabra has five syllables and it rhymes, which makes it very distinct and understandable, even for small children. The word Abracadabra comes from ancient symbols that were believed to hold magical powers and cast spells.
Abracadabra is recited to make the magic happen. It is the most popular and widely known magic word in the world. Usually it is said in one breath, like you are holding a note- “AbraaaaaaCadabraaaaaa.” If you ask a spectator to say any magic word most of the time they will say Abracadabra. It is also very easy to say, which is important when you involve a kid in a trick and ask them to say it.
Abracadabra is so well known, it has become part of pop culture. It is said by non-magicians every day, mostly in a joking manner. For example, someone might be giving a slide show presentation and as they click a button to go the next slide they might say Abracadabra, as if it happened by magic. This will get a chuckle, everyone knows what they mean and can relate.
WHY DO MAGICIANS SAY TADA
The reason magicians say Tada is because it is easy to pronounce, enthusiastic and fun to say, rolls smoothly off your tongue, and signifies the trick is over. Tada is very positive and you can’t help but smile while saying it. Tada is known by everyone and is usually sung as if you are holding a note- Tadaaaaa.
Tada is said at the moment the magic is revealed. It is usually recited with excitement as if the magician is very proud of what he/she just did. Tada is usually said in a very melodic and entertaining way. Since it is only 2 syllables and they rhyme, it is easy for everyone, including small children, to understand.
Many magicians use Tada in a joking manner. They might say Tada after something small or minimal has taken place, or if they make a mistake. For example, let’s say a magician finds the wrong card. Knowing they have failed, to make the situation light, they might say- Tadaaaaa. People will laugh.
“Tada” is engrained in pop culture. It is a word that is used often and understood by all. Let’s say you pick up a Starbucks for your friend at work. They see you with a coffee and mention they would like one too. You bring out theirs and say, Tadaaaaaa.
WHY DO MAGICIANS SAY OPEN SESAME
The reason magicians say Open Sesame is because it sounds funny, rolls nicely off your tongue, it is easy to understand, it is extremely positive and memorable, and Open Sesame is known to open doors. It is fun to say for both children and adults. Open Sesame originates from the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves where it was recited to open a cave.
Open Sesame has become part of pop culture. I remember as a kid my parents feeding me and to get me to open my mouth they would say “Open Sesame.” It is generally said in a very positive and upbeat manner. It is a light-hearted phrase and loved by all. This is why magicians say it.
There is a famous nightclub called the Magic Castle in Hollywood. In order to enter you must stand in front of the bookshelf and say “Open Sesame.” The bookshelf, as if by magic, opens up and you walk through. It is very cool.
WHY DO MAGICIANS SAY FOR THE FIRST TIME
The reason magicians say For the First Time is to build up the impossibility, suspense, wonder, and magic of a trick. It is usually said right before the reveal of something amazing and leads the audience to a deeper level of conviction. The end of the trick becomes much more incredible, deceptive, and impressive.
A magician might say, “For the first time, name your card.” This emphasizes that there is no way the magician could have known the spectator’s card. “For the First Time” is often said when a magician has a prediction that has been in view the whole time. It stresses the randomness of what is about to happen. “I wrote down one word, for the first time name the word you were thinking of.” “For the first time” adds to the mystery of the magic.
WHAT DO MAGICIANS SAY BEFORE A TRICK
Before a trick takes place magicians have to focus the attention of their audience. Then they say the magic words to make the magic happen. Here is what magicians say before a trick-
- Are you ready?
- Check this out!
- Look, look, look!
- Get Ready to be Amazed!
- Sim Sala Bim
- Hocus Pocus
- Open Sesame
- Presto Chango
- A La Peanut Butter Sandwiches
WHAT DO MAGICIANS SAY AT THE END OF A TRICK
At the end of trick it is important for a magician to build it up. This makes the magic stronger and more memorable. Here is what magicians say at the end of a trick-
- Just a Wave
- Don’t Blink or You’ll Miss It
- For the First Time
- Don’t Look Away
- Is There Any Way…
- Would You Be Impressed…
WHAT DO MAGICIANS SAY AFTER A TRICK
When a trick is over it is important to let your audience know it is time to applaud or react. Here is what magicians say after a trick-
- It’s Magic!
- For My Next Trick.
- Please Give a Round of Applause to My Helper.
- Thank You Very Much.
- You Have Been a Great Audience.
- Do You Want To See Another Trick?
- I Don’t Even Know How It Is Done.
- A Good Magician Never Repeats a Trick.
PLEASE AND THANK YOU MAGIC WORDS
Please and Thank You are the most powerful magic words in the world. If you say them you can get anyone to do anything you ask. Saying Please and Thank You is good manners. Good manners shows respect for others. When people feel respected they want to do things for you. Nobody likes to be commanded. I always say Please and Thank You to my spectators when performing magic. “Please put out your hand.” “Please think of a word.”