Word Nerd is back! I enjoyed preparing for and attending the American Christian Fiction Writers’ conference last week, but I’m equally enjoying being back to Word Nerding.
Right time of the year for this word, isn’t it? I learned some interesting things as I put my word nerd mind to magic.
Magic comes from Greek magike, meaning “the sorcerer’s art,” (Latin took it from Greek almost as-is: magice) which is from the Persian magus. This comes from the Indo-European root where we also get our word “mighty,” and it signifies having power or control over supernatural forces.
According to my favorite dictionary in the world, Noah Webster’s 1828, (http://1828.mshaffer.com) the Greeks used it to refer to a “philosopher among the Persians.”
Which brings me to my second point: Magic is associated with the word “magi,” as in the wise men from the East who traveled to see Jesus after His birth. My trusty American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language notes that magi was also a term for Zoroastrian priests of the Medes and Persians, so it would not surprise me one bit to find that the wise men of the Bible were Zoroastrian priests on a search for truth, since Zoroastrianism was founded around the 6th Century BC (according to Wikipedia—interesting where Word Nerd research leads you).
Can’t you just picture the holy awe in the faces of the wise men as they discovered not truth, but Truth itself, in the form of a baby, the son of God?
Another fascinating connection is between the words wise and wizard, both from the Middle English.
Seems we associate magic and wizadry with authority, after all, it takes both power and wisdom to have authority. Thank God He has both.
WORD NERD CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: The word magic denotes power and control over supernatural forces, so find the roots of the words power and control.
By the Way: Short Story Tuesday is also back. Enjoy yesterday’s entry here, and come back for a fiction break next Tuesday.
- October is Word Nerd Month (writerscrampblog.wordpress.com)