Monty's Magic Dictionary

A dictionary of magic terms and Hawaiian terms used on this web site.

Abracadabra - Magic word used to help magician "make something happen". In reality, it is derived from ancient cabalistic symbols and at one time was believed to hold real power.

Act - the collected tricks and routines that you present at a single seating or performance

'aina -- The land, earth. eg. Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina i ka pono. The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness. (Hawaii's state motto.)

'akahi -- One. (Especially when counting in a series.)

ali'i -- Ancient Hawaiian royalty.

aloha -- A greeting, also used when parting. Both hello and goodbye. Love.

'alua -- Two. Twice.

Aristocrat - Brand name of cards manufactured by U.S. Playing Card Co.

'au'au -- To bathe or take a shower. eg. Gotta go 'au'au after fishing all day.

Aviator - Brand of cards manufactured by U.S. Playing Card Co. Design is symmetrical. Many gimmicked card decks are made with this back design. Also known as Fox Lake.

BEE - Special back design of cards manufactured by U.S. Playing Card Co. Small scale pattern with no border makes this type of deck excellent for card sleights, as the pattern helps camouflage the moves.

Billet: a small piece of paper, often folded, upon which a message has been written, usually for a mind-reading effect

Bill in Lemon - A magic trick were a signed dollar bill ends up inside a lemon.

Book test - an act of mental magic in which a spectator selects letters, words, illustrations or pages from a book, and you divine or predict them

Bridge-size cards - slightly smaller than poker-size cards, measure 2" in width by 3" in length

Broken Wand Ceremony - Special ceremony conducted at the funeral of a magician in which a wand is broken to symbolize the loss of magical power. First conducted by the Society of American Magicians at Houdini's memorial service in 1926.

Card Force - A spectator is forced to pick a specific card (often the top card). The spectator thinks it was a free choice. There are many methods of forcing a card. Some are simple like the criss cross force were you simply cut the cards and complete the cut but with the cards at an angle. The card at the place were the cut is completed was the top card and can now be handed out as the selected card. It looks like you cut at that point.

Clean - a trick finish clean if everything (including the hands) can be examined at the end

Closer - the last trick or routine performed in an act or at a single seating

Close-up magic -- is when the magician performs right under your nose. There is no possibility of camera tricks, mirrors or trap doors. Quite often the magic will involve simple everyday items such as cigarettes, coins, finger rings and of course playing cards

Comp - a free ticket to a show

Confetti wand - a magic wand that shoots out confetti at the magician's command.

Contact juggling - an item such as a round ball is juggled but the performer never looses contact with the item that is being juggled. It appears as if the item is simply floating.

Control - any method that moves a specific playing card or cards to a known position in the deck

Control to the top - The card is returned to the center of the deck. You keep a finger break with your little finger and then cut the card to the top of the deck.

Court card - a jack, queen, or king of any suit

Double lift - You turn over the top two cards as one. Take a finger break under the top two cards and simply turn them over as one.

'eha -- Four. Four times.

'ekahi -- One. Once.

'ekolu -- Three. Three times.

'elima -- Five. Five times.

Elmsley count - The Elmsley Count is a false count of four cards. The third card from the top is hidden from view during the count. Instead of showing the secret card, the top card is shown twice. the top card is the first and last card shown int the four card count. After the Elmsley Count, the cards end up in the Jordan Count position.

'elua -- Two. Twice.

ewa -- An area west of Honolulu. (Used as a directional term.) eg. Head ewa on H-1 and take the Waikele offramp to the outlet stores.

Exposure - revealing the secret method to a magic effect

Face - the side of a playing card that shows its identity by value and suit

False Cut
False Cut - A false cut is a move used either in magic or cheating. A false cut is any manipulation of the cards designed to appear as though the deck has been cut but in which the cards actually remain in the same order as the starting order. It appears as if you have cut the deck of cards but actually the deck remains in the same order as when it began.

False turn over - you appear to turn the card over but you actually show the same side twice. Hold the card face up in the palm of your hand near the finger tips. Turn your hand over but at the same time push your thumb under the card and turn it over. You are actually turning the card over twice which shows the same side twice.

Finger Break - Your little finger is placed in a small gap in the cards which allows you to control the card above or below the finger break.

Flourish - any obvious display of skill

Force - to secretly make an audience member perform a desired action without his or her awareness

Ghost count - See Elmsley count.

hala -- The pandanus tree, whose leaves are plaited into mats, baskets and hats.

halau -- A long house for canoes or hula instruction. Often used to refer to hula troupes. eg. A halau from Kauai took second place in the 1996 hula festival on the Big Island.

hale -- House. eg. It's appropriate that Honolulu's City Hall is called Honolulu Hale.

hapu'u -- An endemic tree fern, common in many forests of Hawai'i, and now frequently cultivated.

haole -- Originally, a foreigner, but the term is now used mainly to depict blondes or caucasians.

hihiwai -- An endemic grainy snail found in both fresh and brackish water.

Hocus Pocus - Nonsense phrase used to help the magician "make something happen". Some feel that the word is a corruption of a Latin phrase used in the Mass, others say that it was the name of a magician. Still another source considers it a reference to the Norse folktale sorcerer Ochus Bochus. I could be a meaningless phrase created for its sound alone.

ho'oponopono -- To correct.

hui -- A club, association or group.

hukilau -- A net; to fish with a net.

hula -- A lovely Hawaiian dance form.

huli -- To turn or flip over.

humuhumu-nukunuku-a-pua'a -- This is Hawaii's state fish, whose nose is shaped like a pig's.

IBM - International Brotherhood of Magicians - Founded in 1922

Impromptu magic - tricks or effects that can be done without any special advance preparation

imu -- An underground oven. eg. The kalua pig at the luau was cooked in an imu.

Jordan Count -- The Jordan Count is a false count of four cards. The bottom card is not shown during the count. After the Jordan Count, the cards end up in the Elmsley Count position.

kahuna -- A priest, minister or expert in any field. eg. A kahuna was asked to bless the site before construction began.

kahuna lapa'au -- A healer or doctor.

kai -- Sea, near the sea.

kalua -- To bake in an underground pit or oven. Often used to describe pig served at lu'aus.

kama'aina -- A native-born or longtime Island resident.

kane -- Man or men. eg. Go through the door marked kane, not wahine.

keiki -- Child or children.

kiawe -- Algaroba tree. Like mesquite, its wood is often used to barbecue.

kokua -- Assistance, help. eg. We need your kokua. Please don't litter.

koloa -- Hawaiian duck. Considered an endangered species.

konohiki -- Headman of an ahupua'a (land division).

kukui -- Candlenut tree bearing nuts containing oily kernels formerly used for lighting by ancient Hawaiians. eg. Polished kukui nuts are often used to make leis.

kuleana -- Small piece of property.

kumu hula -- Teacher of Hawaiian dance. eg. Our kumu hula is strict, but a gentle spirit.

la'au lapa'au -- Medicine. Curing medicine.

laua'e -- A fragrant fern whose pieces were often strung in pandanus leis.

laulau -- A combination of pork, beef, chicken and/or fish, wrapped in luau leaves and steamed.

lei -- A flower necklace. eg. Each of her friends gave her a lei at the graduation ceremony.

liliko'i -- Passion fruit used for desserts and beverages. eg. Order the liliko'i juice; it's exotic.

lokahi -- Unity. To blend opposites.

lomilomi -- Massage. eg. Ah, after a tough day at work, I could use some lomilomi.

lua -- Bathroom, toilet. eg. He went to the lua about an hour ago....wonder if he's coming back to work.

luna -- A foreman, boss or supervisor. eg. Get busy; here comes the luna.

Mahalo - Hawaiian for thank you.

makai -- Towards the ocean. (Used in giving directions.) eg. Turn right on Kalakaua Ave., go two blocks, then makai on Royal Hawaiian.

mahimahi -- A fish from the dolphin family. A very popular dish with both visitors and locals alike.

malihini -- A newcomer or visitor.

mauka -- Towards the mountains. (Used in giving directions.) eg. The hotel is on the mauka side of the street.

'ohana -- Family.

'ono -- Delicious, tasty, savory. eg. The laulau was ono!

opae -- Shrimp. eg. They caught some opae to use as bait.

'opakapaka -- Blue snapper. eg. The special of the day is steamed 'opakapaka sprinkled with crushed almonds and served on a bed of rice pilaf or the pasta of your choice.

Opener - The first trick or routine performed in an act or at a single seating

'opihi -- Limpet. Plucked from shoreline walls and eaten raw. eg. 'Opihi make great pupus (appetizers.)

'opu -- Stomach. eg. Santa got a big 'opu from eating so much laulau, fish and poi.

Parlor magic - magic that can be performed effectively in a small room

Patter - the words used or stories told by the magician while performing a trick

pau -- Finished. eg. All pau. What's next?

pau hana -- Finished with work. eg. Yeah!, pau hana time. Let's hit the surf.

Penetration - a person or solid object passes through another through another person or solid object without harm to either

pikake -- A shrub with small, white, very fragrant flowers. eg. Her pikake lei smells so good.

piko -- Umbilical cord, navel.

pipi kaula -- Beef salted and dried in the sun. Broiled before eaten.

pohaku -- Rock, stone.

poi -- A Hawaiian staple made from cooked taro.

poke -- Raw fish chunks mixed with seaweed. eg. Let's put a little bit of chili pepper in with the poke for more flavor.

po'okela -- Best, supreme, foremost.

Prestidigitation - Phrase coined by French magician Jules deRovere in 1815; loosely translated, the term means "performed with quick fingers".

pua'a -- A pig or hog.

Raven - a magic utility item used to make small objects such as a coin vanish from the spectator's hand..

Ring Flight - a barrowed spectator's ring vanishes and is found on the magician's key chain.

SAM - Society of American Magicians

Servante - Pouch or shelf positioned on the magician's side of a table, hidden from the spectator's view, but allowing the magician to dispose of items by secretly dropping them into or onto the servante while the hands seem to always remain in full view above the table.

Setup - in magic, cards or other props are sometimes put in a specific order or position before a performance. This is called a setup.

Sim Sala Bim - "Magic words" made popular by Dante; in fact, his show was named Sim Sala Bim. Actually, it was a magical phrase taken from a popular Danish fairy tale (Dante was from Denmark).

Sleight-of-hand - any cunning or crafty trickery performed with the hands

Suspension: an illusion in which a person hangs in the air without moving, either partially supported (such as at the end of a pole).

SYM - Society of Young Magicians

Bird / Rabbit Vanish - Magic Trick. Take Apart Vanish - A box used to make a bird, rabbit, or other object vanish. A bird, rabbit, or other small animal is put in a box. The magician takes the box apart and shows every side. The bird, rabbit, or whatever you put in the box is gone.

Theme act - an act based around a central premise or prop

Tilt move - The back of the top card is tilted up from the rest of the deck making the deck look deeper. The spectator's card is inserted under the tilt which makes it look like it is going into the center of the deck. Actually it is the second card from the top.

Top Change - The card in one hand is changed with the top card of the deck which is in the other hand. You temporary move the two hands together and slide the card off the deck while putting the card in your other hand on the deck.

Topit - Large pocket in the lining of a jacket that allows the magician to vanish items by tossing them secretly and smoothly into the pocket.

Transformation - one of the basic effects in magic, in which an object changes into an entirely different item.

Transposition = one of the basic effects in magic, in which two or more objects or people exchange places

Triple lift - You turn over the top three cards as one. Take a finger break under the top three cards and simply turn them over as one.

tutu -- Grandmother.

UFO card - basically a floating card effect that can be completely controlled by the magician.

'ukulele -- A musical Hawaiian string instrument, introduced by the Portugese.

ulua -- A species of jack crevalle. eg. We caught two huge ulua and a few smaller fish today.

'ulu maika -- Stone used in playing the maika game (bowling). eg. Visitors can play 'ulu maika at some luaus.

umeke -- Bowl, calabash, as of wood or gourd.

Vanish - a disappearence or the act of making something or someone disappear

wahine -- Woman or women. eg. The Rainbow wahine are one of the top ranked volley ball teams in the nation year after year.

weke -- Several species of edible, goatfish that inhabit Hawaiian reefs, characterized by a red color or striped markings.

Woofle dust - an imaginary powder with magical properties.