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a word of unknown significance found on charms, especially amulets, of the late Greco-Roman world and linked with both Gnostic beliefs and magical practices by the early church fathers.
Historical Examples

Amulets in the form of inscriptions were called “Characts,” the word abraxas being an example.
Three Thousand Years of Mental Healing George Barton Cutten

abraxas-stones were so called from having the word abraxas or Abrasax engraved on them.
Finger-Ring Lore William Jones

They quickly acquired a celebrity undi165minished for ages, and were known under the general name of abraxas.
Three Thousand Years of Mental Healing George Barton Cutten

abraxas stones, stones with cabalistic figures on them used as talismans.
The Nuttall Encyclopaedia Edited by Rev. James Wood

After midsummer, the conspicuous cream, black and yellow-spotted ‘Magpie’ moth (abraxas grossulariata) is common in gardens.
The Life-Story of Insects Geo. H. Carpenter

To the abraxas succeeded the talismans, which were of the highest estimation in the East.
Curious Facts in the History of Insects; Including Spiders and Scorpions. Frank Cowan

In this connexion the name abraxas and the abraxas gems must be remembered.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 3 Various

There is a case comparable to this found in a wild species of moth, abraxas grossulariata.
A Critique of the Theory of Evolution Thomas Hunt Morgan

Ellopia ribearia, or the Currant-moth, was figured and described by Fitch as the abraxas?
American Pomology J. A. Warder

It is certain that the use of the name abraxas was at first peculiar to the Gnostic sect of the Basilideans.
Finger-Ring Lore William Jones

an ancient charm composed of Greek letters: originally believed to have magical powers and inscribed on amulets, etc, but from the second century ad personified by Gnostics as a deity, the source of divine emanations

Cabalistic word, 1738, of uncertain origin.


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