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A wizard (from 'wise') is a practitioner of magic, especially in folklore, fantasy fiction, and fantasy role-playing games. In popular use in sixteenth century England it was used to denonate a helpful male folk magican, a cunning man as they were usually called, and the male equivalent of a witch. The word does not generally apply to Neopaganss, or to stage magicianss (properly termed illusionists) like David Copperfield, Paul Daniels, or James Randi.

They have historical roots in the Shamans.

Colloquially anyone who is especially adept at some obscure or difficult endeavor may be referred to as a wizard. For instance someone who is particularly skilled with computers might be referred to as a "programming wizard." (However, normal usage applies more specialized superlatives to specific fields of endeavor, thus a musician is more likely to be called a "maestro" than a "wizard").

Table of contents
1 Related terms
2 Fiction
3 See also
4 External links
5 Other meanings

Related terms

In most cases there is little to differentiate a wizard from similar fictional and folkloric practitioners of magic such as an enchanter, a magician, a sorcerer, or a thaumaturgist; however specific fantasy authors and role-playing games use the names with narrower meanings. When such distinctions are made, sorcerers are more often evil, "black magicians" (i.e., practitioners of black magic), and there may be variations on level and type of power associated with each name.

For example, Dungeons & Dragons; Third Edition, distinguishes between sorcerers and wizards:

Another example: "The difference between a wizard and a sorcerer is comparable to that between, say, a lion and a tiger, but wizards are acutely status-conscious, and to them, it's more like the difference between a lion and a dead kitten." (Steve Pemberton, The Times & Life of Lucifer Jones)

Lyndon Hardy's Master of the Five Magics suggests ascending ranks of thaumaturgist, alchemist, magician, sorcerer, and wizard.


Famous wizards in folklore and fantasy fiction (sometimes both) include:

The eponymous character of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a stage magician pretending to be a genuine wizard.

In some fictional and game settings, wizard or a similar term is the name for a "race" or species, not just a job description. For example:

See also

External links

Other meanings