What does witchcraft mean?

Definitions for witchcraft
ˈwɪtʃˌkræft, -ˌkrɑftwitch·craft

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word witchcraft.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. witchcraft, witcherynoun

    the art of sorcery


  1. witchcraftnoun

    Adherence to or the practice of Wicca. In this sense the term does not necessarily include attempts at practice of magic, other than by prayers to the deities.


  1. witchcraftnoun

    The practice of witches; magic, sorcery or the use supernatural powers to influence or predict events.

  2. Etymology: From wiccecræft, compound of wicce and cræft.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Witchcraftnoun

    The practices of witches.

    Etymology: witch and craft.

    Urania name, whose force he knew so well,
    He quickly knew what witchcraft gave the blow. Philip Sidney.

    If you cannot
    Bar his access to the king, never attempt
    Any thing on him, for he hath a witchcraft
    Over the king in’s tongue. William Shakespeare, Hen. VIII.

    People are credulous, and ready to impute accidents and natural operations to witchcraft. Francis Bacon, Nat. Hist.

    What subtile witchcraft man constrains,
    To change his pleasure into pains. John Denham.


  1. Witchcraft

    Witchcraft traditionally means the use of magic or supernatural powers to harm others. A practitioner is a witch. In medieval and early modern Europe, where the term originated, accused witches were usually women who were believed to have used malevolent magic against their own community, and often to have communed with evil beings. It was thought witchcraft could be thwarted by protective magic or counter-magic, which could be provided by cunning folk or folk healers. Suspected witches were also intimidated, banished, attacked or killed. Often they would be formally prosecuted and punished, if found guilty or simply believed to be guilty. European witch-hunts and witch trials in the early modern period led to tens of thousands of executions. In some regions, many of those accused of witchcraft were folk healers or midwives. European belief in witchcraft gradually dwindled during and after the Age of Enlightenment. Contemporary cultures that believe in magic and the supernatural often believe in witchcraft. Anthropologists have applied the term "witchcraft" to similar beliefs and occult practices described by many non-European cultures, and cultures that have adopted the English language will often call these practices "witchcraft", as well. As with the cunning-folk in Europe, Indigenous communities that believe in the existence of witchcraft define witches as the opposite of their healers and medicine people, who are sought out for protection against witchcraft. Modern witch-hunting takes place in parts of Africa and Asia. A theory that witchcraft was a survival of a European pagan religion (the witch-cult hypothesis) gained popularity in the early 20th century, but has been discredited. A newer theory is that the idea of "witchcraft" developed to explain strange misfortune, similar to ideas such as the evil eye. In contemporary Western culture, most notably since the growth of Wicca from the 1950s, some modern pagans and followers of New Age belief systems may self-identify as "witches", and use the term "witchcraft" for their self-help, healing or divination rituals. Others avoid the term due to its negative connotations.


  1. witchcraft

    Witchcraft refers to the practice of, and belief in, magical skills, abilities, and activities associated with witches. It is generally perceived as a means of harnessing supernatural or mystical powers to effect change in the world, usually through rituals, spells, conjurations, potions, charms, or incantations. Witchcraft can be seen in numerous cultures, religions, and mythologies around the world, often varying considerably between different contexts and societies.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Witchcraftnoun

    the practices or art of witches; sorcery; enchantments; intercourse with evil spirits

  2. Witchcraftnoun

    power more than natural; irresistible influence

  3. Etymology: [AS. wiccecrft.]


  1. Witchcraft

    Witchcraft is the use of magical faculties, most commonly for religious, divinatory or medicinal purposes. This may take many forms depending on cultural context. The belief in and the practise of magic has been present since the earliest human cultures and continues to have an important religious and medicinal role in many cultures today. "Magic is central not only in 'primitive' societies but in 'high cultural' societies as well..." The concept of witchcraft as harmful is often treated as a cultural ideology providing a scapegoat for human misfortune. This was particularily the case in Early Modern Europe where witchcraft came to be seen as part of a vast diabolical conspiracy of individuals in league with the Devil undermining Christianity, eventually leading to large-scale witch-hunts, especially in Protestant Europe. Witch hunts continue to this day with tragic consequences. Since the mid-20th century Witchcraft has become the designation of a branch of contemporary Paganism, it is most notably practised in the Wiccan traditions, some of whom claim to practice a revival of pre-Abrahamic spirituality.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Witchcraft

    An act of employing sorcery (the use of power gained from the assistance or control of spirits), especially with malevolent intent, and the exercise of supernatural powers and alleged intercourse with the devil or a familiar. (From Webster, 3d ed)

Suggested Resources

  1. witchcraft

    Song lyrics by witchcraft -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by witchcraft on the Lyrics.com website.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of witchcraft in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of witchcraft in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of witchcraft in a Sentence

  1. Heather Lydia Thornhill:

    At Pre cognicent and intuitive witchcraft there is a state beyond love and hate or light and dark or measure of any kind or language/ description of any kind not even future. It is a still, non moving, non acknowledging, non needing, catatonic existence, a sort of damned place but also enlightened calm state of self.

  2. Mohamed Mansaray:

    People were attributing the deaths to witchcraft, that's why people died.

  3. Pat Robertson, The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1993:

    It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.

  4. Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan:

    There are different factions of (witchcraft). While it doesn't bother me to release that particular thing, I most assuredly do not want to defame or demean any particular practice.

  5. Heather Lydia Thornhill:

    Pre Origin is a state beyond conscious awareness and unconscious non moving existence (specific to dimension), a state of pre cognicence that might never have became cognicent or conscious. A place with no intuition. A place or being pre God or divine awareness. Beyond that is pre container of origin I.e. pre witchcraft.

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Translations for witchcraft

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