Learn English – Difference between “sorcerer” and “wizard”


What is the difference between sorcerer and wizard?

I know that the nomenclature is unclear. However, the common usage seems to indicate:

  1. a wizard is born an ordinary mortal, learns magic and spells from books;
  2. a sorcerer is born a sorcerer, but needs to learn spells (possibly of a certain type) from a master.

Is this correct, or is there more to it?

Best Answer

I'm afraid that there is no definite answer, since both roles are pure fiction and their attributes may change as in role playing games they have a difference (different spells and skills). Only the etymology could give a clue

From etymonline

sorcerer 1520s, earlier sorcer, from O.Fr. sorcier (see sorcery). Sorcerer’s apprentice was a symphonic poem by Paul Dukas (1897) based on a Goethe ballad ("Der Zauberlehrling," 1797), but the common figurative use of the term (1952) comes after Disney’s “Fantasia” (1940).

wizard mid-15c., "philosopher, sage," from M.E. wys "wise" (see wise (adj.)) + -ard. Cf. Lith. zynyste "magic," zynys "sorcerer," zyne "witch," all from zinoti "to know." The ground sense is perhaps "to know the future." The meaning "one with magical power" did not emerge distinctly until c.1550, the distinction between philosophy and magic being blurred in the Middle Ages. As a slang word meaning "excellent" it is recorded from 1922.

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