All primitive peoples, and many modern peoples, believe in magic in one form or another. Magicians, sorcerers, warlocks, enchanters, etc. try to control nature through the use of supernatural forces.
One way of doing this is through a magic ritual designed to cause something to happen, called a spell. Witches cast spells for luck, love, money, etc. Someone under the influence of magic is said to be under a spell or spellbound. If it is evil magic meant to harm or kill him, he is cursed.
Were you ever so interested in something or somebody that you felt almost as if it were magic? Perhaps you were absorbed in a spellbinding story. (To bind means to tie with rope.)
Another way to use magic is to make a talisman or charm. Even today young girls wear bracelets with many small pieces of jewelry hanging from them, called charm bracelets. And when a plan works just exactly the way we want it to, we say it works like a charm.
Do you know someone who is so nice that he or she seems to cast a spell over everyone they meet? Do you know a charming person? People with a lot of charm are sure to be liked wherever they go.
Another word for a spell is an enchantment, related to the word chant which describes the words of a spell or religious rite spoken rhythmically almost like a song. It is also related to chantey which is a traditional sailor’s work song. A spell when chanted is an incantation.
In some European languages, one says „Enchanted“ when introduced to someone new (Spanish: encantado, French: enchante). An older English form is, „Charmed, I’m sure.“ Someone extremely charming can be described as enchanting, and perhaps you know the song from the musical South Pacific; Some Enchanted Evening?
A spell of illusion in old French is called a glamour, which today means a certain kind of beauty helped by artificial aids such as cosmetics and elegant clothes. The adjective is glamorous, as in a woman or a life.
Magic, as mentioned, is also used to do harm. A spell to harm someone is a curse, someone under a curse is accursed, and there are many legends about family curses and accursed places and things. Nowadays to curse means simply to use bad language.*
*Spell the noun, sounds and looks like to spell the verb meaning how to write something. How do you spell your name?
WORD PICTURES by Stephen Browne
published by inlingua GALINDO Language School