• It varies, but is often dog-Latin or mispronounced Semitic. Examples: "presto change-o" is Latin for quick, then English-rhyming for change; "hocus pocus" is thought to be a perversion of "hoc est corpus" which is Latin (taken from the Bible) for "this is (my) body," which was what Jesus said to His disciples at the last supper - so the words were thought to have magical power; "abracadabra" is sort of like a pidgin-Hebrew (aby yvstd swx xry rybvr) for "I create as I speak," or may be slightly more properly Ahmraic; Sim Sala Bim sounds vaguely Turkish, but I don't speak Turkish or think it means anything, but probably started out as a phrase that meant something in Turkish and, as people repeated it, it got mispronounced more and more until someone tried to write it down, and now it's gibberish.

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