Below are words and phrases use by magicians with an explanation of their meanings.
A magician will have ‘an act’ which is a set of magic effects and routines that have been put together to make a ‘show’. A magician may have a ‘close-up’ act or a ‘stage’ act or both.
In magic, refers to the angle or direction from where your audience is looking at your performance. Some tricks like this one, needs special attention to the direction from where your audience is watching the trick, to make sure the secret stays hidden.
In magic the expression of ‘leaving you clean’ is used when you are left with nothing to hide from the audience. You could even hand out a card or a prop as the gimmick has been removed.
Close Up Mat
A performance mat with a thick rubber backing that grips the table, eliminating unwanted movement. It is durable and is perfect for silent moves and super-smooth card spreads.
A convincer is a subtle thing you say or an action you take that gently helps convince the audience that what you say and do is actually what is happening when, in fact, you are lying through your teeth.
Double backed card
A double backed card is a single card that has the back design of a pack of cards printed on both sides of the card. It can be blue/blue, red/red or red/blue. There are many magic tricks with double backed cards and they can be bought from magic shops or online shops. You can also make your own double back cards by sticking two cards face-to-face, leaving you with the back of the cards on both sides.
This is what you want your audience to see or perceive from the magic trick or illusion you are performing. This is what the audience member thinks he or she sees happening.
When a magician shows something that is secretly hidden by accident.
The ‘sneaky bit’ that the audience don’t see.
An illusion is when something looks or appears different from what it actually is. Magicians rely heavily on this ‘false perception’ of our senses to perform magic tricks.
Magic that you can perform with everyday objects around you. You can use drinking straws, paper clips, toothpicks, coins and so on.
When you hand a prop to the audience to look at to see that there are nothing unusual about it. This is done only when using un-gimmicked props. Using this technique makes the magic all the more magical. You can hand it to the audience either before you do magic with it or straight afterwards.
The magician makes something (or themselves) lift and float with no obvious physical support, as if breaking the rules of gravity.
A magician is someone who performs magic, and that includes professional magicians, as well as beginners, amateurs and kids. There have been may famous magicians who have made the history books such as Harry Houdini, Chung Ling Soo and Dough Henning.
Magicians wax is used in many different effects. A few examples of tricks with magicians wax are the flying card illusion, the card to wallet trick, the card that changes colour illusion and many more. Magicians wax is used to ‘stick’ cards together or thread to themselves in such a way that the audience doesn’t see it. It can easily be removed by the magician before handing out the item for inspection, leaving the props ‘clean’. This was is also used by dentists and is know as orthodontists wax. A substitute for magicians wax is 100% beeswax.
A way that magicians hold playing cards when they are doing card tricks.
By holding the cards in the mechanics grip the magician is in a comfortable and natural looking position. the hands appear relaxed however the fingers in are in the optimum position for certain movers called card slights.
Mentalism is a branch of magic where the magician or the ‘mentalist’ appears to make things happen by using only the power of his/her mind.
When you get the audience to look elsewhere when you are doing the secret move.
Moment of Magic
The ‘Moment of Magic’ is the moment when the MAGIC happens. Up to now the magician has told a story, woven a plot and this ‘moment’ is when the magic effect is seen by the audience. It will very often get a response from the audience, like a laugh, a gasp of air, clapping or expressions of disbelief. These are the moments a magician works for.
The words you say while you are performing your magic trick. With some tricks you may choose to tell a story and with others, you may tell a joke.
The effect of a solid object mysteriously passing through another solid object is called a penetration.
Together with patter, it is the HOW you do a magic effect. Not simply performing the effect, but padding it with story telling, jokes and so on. This adds to the entertainment value of your performance and will engage your audience.
Produce or production
To make something appear as if by magic.
Self working magic
A self working trick is a trick that requires no skill from the magician. Self working tricks are easy to do however just because a trick requires no skill, that does not mean you should not practice it.
A technique of mixing up objects. Most often used when referring to cards.
It is a fancy name for pressing with your thumb to stop something falling out of your hand.
The overhand shuffle is a way that magicians shuffle or mix up a pack of cards when doing card tricks. The overhand shuffle is considered a good beginners shuffle as it is easy to learn.
Sleight of Hand
Magic that needs some skill and doesn’t use as much gimmicked props to create magical effects.
Although not a proper magic term, ‘sneaky move’ refers to the action you do that the audience don’t see that helps you to perform ‘magic’.
The magician makes something float (or ‘hang’) with no obvious means of support and then the object (or person) stays in the air. It’s different from ‘levitation’ as the object (or person) doesn’t move from being supported to not being supported.
The apparent ability to move objects with the power of the mind.
A utility prop is any magic prop that you can use in multiple routines.
Genii Magazine have also put together a list of magician’s terms, you can click here to see the Genii Magazine magicians dictionary.