AskDefine | Define cantrip

User Contributed Dictionary



Origin unknown.




  1. A spell or incantation; a magic trick.
    • 1976: For one thing, I've no intention of distributing cantrips and costly crucifixes to every rapable woman in the Parish of St Magloire. — Kyril Bonfiglioli, Something Nasty in the Woodshed (Penguin 2001, p. 422)
    • 1984: ‘And when I say now the power of the name Jesus makes you whole, I indulge in no petty mountebank’s cantrips.’ — Anthony Burgess, Enderby's Dark Lady

Extensive Definition

Cantrip may refer to—
  • A magical spell of any kind, or one which reads the same forwards and backwards.
In the novel, "When Darkness Falls," by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, a 'cantrip' is used to describe a short (one or two words, or one flick of a magic wand) spell or incantation that triggers a series of spells, or acts as a trigger that completes a much more complicated spell (which would ordinarily take hours or days of chanting and conjuring to complete). It acts as a magical shortcut or abbreviation.
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