I happen to love bizarre words. My favourite? Prestidigitation. Or as the French say Preston did you get the. . . . . Okay my dictation device didn’t understand it in French. Basically it’s exactly the same word with a different inflection. I chose this word for Just Jot it January by the effervescent Linda G Hill. This is going to be fun!

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I do not do magic. However. I believe that all good writers use the basis of prestidigitation in their stories. Think about it. We all love the twist, the red Herring, the misdirection in a good mystery. Is that not simply literary prestidigitation?

Okay to save you a trip to the library, the word simply means ‘slight of hand’ or in the broader sense ‘magic’. Now you know why I love this word! As writers we all want to create a little magic through our words. We transport the reader to a place, a situation, that they can immerse themselves in from the safety of their armchair. That is what reading meant to me as a child. I feel as though I have been to Africa and then the moon. I once swam into the Marianas Trench at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. I have slept beneath a Sycamore tree and run with the bulls in Pamplona. All between the pages of a book.

Magic has two components: the performer and the audience. Books have two components: the writer and the reader. The magic is the relationship between the two that exists within the words. How something from the back of my mind can resonant in the mind of another thousands of miles away or just next door is magical.

So my friends go forth and indulge in a little literary magic!


Check out the rules at:  It is seriously worth it!

29 thoughts on “Prestidigitation

  1. scifihammy

    I couldn’t believe it when I saw your heading – as I also love this word, particularly in the French, with that pronunciation. Also, prestidigitateur! 🙂
    Enjoy your word exercise. 🙂


  2. LindaGHill

    Lovely post, my dear! I feel uplifted by this, at the possibility that I, too, can be a literary prestidigitator! 😀
    Thank you so much again for the magical prompt, Pam! 😀


      1. LindaGHill

        I ended up taking him to the vet. They had to put him under and almost had to give him surgery for a twisted gut. He’s still there – hopefully this is the end of it.


  3. Pingback: Prestidigitation (#JusJoJan) | The Sound of One Hand Typing

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  5. Pingback: Just Jot It January: Slight of Hand and Pass the Candy Floss, #JusJoJan | Her Headache

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