Italian Word of the Day: Mago (magician)

The Italian word for a person with magical powers, or a person that performs magic tricks, is mago.

cover image with the word “mago” and its translation written on a notepad next to a cup of coffee

Mago is a masculine noun, and for this reason, it is only used to denote male figures with magical powers. The feminine equivalent is maga and their respective plurals are maghi (masculine, plural) and maghe (feminine, plural).

un mago
il mago

una maga
la maga

dei maghi
i maghi

delle maghe
le maghe

Note: you may also see magi as a possible masculine plural for mago. However, this form is mainly related to i tre re Magi (the Three Wise Men, or Biblical Magi) in the Bible.

Some possible translations include:

  • Mago = magician, wizard, sorcerer, warlock, enchanter
  • Maga = magician, sorceress, enchantress, witch

Il mago Merlino ha svelato il nome del futuro re.

Merlin the Wizard has revealed the name of the future king.

Boy getting his face painted for Halloween
Si traveste da mago per Halloween – He’s dressing up as a wizard for Halloween

As in English, you can use mago and maga to describe an artist who performs magic tricks for entertainment.

Il mago ha estratto un coniglio dal cilindro.

The magician pulled a rabbit out of the top hat.

Magician in a black suit, sunglasses and top hat, showing trick with playing cards on a dark background.
Quel mago ha davvero molto talento! – That magician is really talented!

In a figurative sense, mago is also the word for someone who is particularly skilled at a particular activity, much like the English word wizard (or whiz).

Il piccolo Leonardo ha solo tre anni, ma è un mago del computer.

Little Leonardo is only three years old, but he is a computer whiz.

Particularly in its feminine form maga, it is also the term for a person endowed with an irresistible charm and power over others. However, bear in mind that this usage is not common.

Quella ragazza è una maga!

That girl is an enchantress!

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