Word of the Day


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1. a man in stories who has magic powers
2. someone who is very good at something

Origin and usage

The word wizard comes from the Middle English word ‘wys’ meaning ‘wise’. In this sense, it first appeared in English in the early 15th century. As a word used to describe a man with magical powers, wizard did not start to be used until around 1550.


Wizard refers to a man or woman with magical powers, made popular in stories and legends. Because wizards were very good at making things happen, the word eventually also came to describe an ordinary person who is particularly good at something.

Wizards are often characters in fantasy stories. A wizard is usually a wise old man, often with a long white beard and flowing robes. He may use a wand or cast magic spells to help or harm other characters. Wizards can be good or bad and may serve as a guide or mentor for major characters in a story.

Merlin from the King Arthur legends is one example of a wizard. Other wizards in popular stories include Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings, Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, many characters in the Harry Potter series – even Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars mythology is a kind of wizard.


“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.”
(Helen Keller)

“When I was playing Gandalf, I didn’t think, ‘Oh my dear, I’m playing a 7,000-year-old wizard,’ because I’ve never met one, and I don’t know what they’re like.”
(Ian McKellen)

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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