Missing image
Albus Dumbledore, from the Harry Potter series, is a traditional wizard.

A wizard (from 'wise') is a practitioner of magic, especially in folklore, fantasy fiction, and fantasy role-playing games. In popular use in 16th century England it was used to denote 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 Neopagans, or to stage magicians (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").


Related terms

, from , is a famous literary wizard.
Gandalf, from The Lord of the Rings, is a famous literary wizard.

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, a necromancer, or a thaumaturgist, but specific authors and works use the names with narrower meanings. When such distinctions are made, sorcerers are more often practitioners of invocations or black magic, and there may be variations on level and type of power associated with each name.

Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition distinguishes between the sorcerer and wizard character classes as follows:

  • "Sorcerers create magic the way poets create poems, with inborn talent honed by practice."
  • "Wizards depend on intensive study to create their magic... For a wizard, magic is not a talent but a deliberate rewarding art."

Steve Pemberton's The Times & Life of Lucifer Jones deecribes the distinction thusly: "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."

Myths and Legends

Wizards found in old fairy tales and myths include:


Missing image

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 the 1939 movie version the wizard was also a fake. However, in later Oz stories, he studies magic with Glinda and becomes 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:

"Real-Life" Wizards

In history, there have been several real people who are popularly believed, or who claimed to be, wizards, sorcerers, etc. Examples include:

  • Aleister Crowley is a controversial figure, the most famous "modern wizard," who is believed to have coined the alternate spelling, "magick."
  • John Dee, whose magical powers were said to come from angels.
  • John Diamond, and his granddaughter, Molly Pitcher, were supposed to have the ability to foretell the future and help (or doom) sailors at sea.
  • Gerald Fitzgerald, the Earl of Desmond, was said to be a shapeshifter wizard, whose spirit is said to still haunt the living.
  • Nicholas Flamel, though he is really more of an alchemist.
  • Michael Scot may have been fictional, though those who claim his reality say he could do amazing feats by conversing with spirits.da:Troldmand

de:Zauberer fi:Velho he:קוסם ja:魔法使い pl:Czarodziej sv:Trollkarl


  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (https://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (https://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (https://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (https://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)


  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Personal tools