I originally posted this question on RPG StackExchange, as my use of the word would be for a custom Dungeons & Dragons class. There weren't a lot of thoughts there, so I thought I'd try here.

Fill in the blank:

Someone imbues a __________ on an object, giving it magic powers.

I need a word that serves as the direct object in this sentence, but there are a lot of caveats on the sort of word I need.

Some background: in D&D, there are a number of different "types" of magical ability, and to keep things straight each one has various terms associated with it, most importantly a verb and an object. For example, you might say someone

  • casts a spell
  • manifests a power, and may augment that power as well
  • invokes an invocation
  • initiates a maneuver
  • utters a true name
  • infuses an infusion
  • activates a magic item
  • binds a vestige (in the game, a sort of spirit)
  • hexes (someone with) a curse

This is just a fairly simple way to keep the different types separate, which is important because they behave differently under the rules. So if we say someone casts something, we know to look at the rules for spells, etc.

So I need a word that fits well in this pattern, but doesn't use one of those already-taken words. It also shouldn't refer to, or appear to refer to, existing game-terms, like

  • arcana
  • artifact
  • conjuration
  • effect
  • enhancement
  • enchantment
  • sorcerer
  • transmutation
  • wizard
  • witch

RPG SE came up with "imbuement," which... I do not care for in the least.

I'm not exactly tied to the word imbue so alternatives are acceptable if they come with a good object. For reference, the magic would be used to improve or augment items.

Along those lines, RPG SE suggested endow/endowment (which sounds either collegial or phallic and neither is what I'm going for), empower/empowerment (little better than imbuement), bewitch/bewitchment (confusing since there is a witch class), and ensorcell/ensorcellation or ensorcell/ensorceration (again, might be confused with the sorcerer class).

Don't let the fixation on having the object be the noun-form of the verb confuse you; that may be a desirable (ish) property, but it's not necessary (see cast a spell).

  • 1
    It’s quite difficult to distill a concrete question from your posting. What is it?
    – tchrist
    May 17, 2014 at 16:37
  • 2
    (From the OED) From L. imbuere, imbutum 'to wet, moisten, tinge, stain, imbrue, imbue'. English senses: (1) v tr To saturate, wet thoroughly (with moisture); to dye, tinge, impregnate (with colour or some physical quality). (1b) To imbrue (with blood). (2) 2. To impregnate, permeate, pervade, or inspire (with opinions, feelings, habits, etc.). Hence imbuement, the action of imbuing, the fact of being imbued. May 17, 2014 at 16:47
  • 1
    This suggests involvement with potions or other wet and smeary things like blood or ichor, possibly with psychoactive chemomagical effects. May 17, 2014 at 16:48
  • 1
    I'm not used to seeing the verb 'imbue' other than in the passive. 'He was imbued with a passion for sport'. I would feel quite awkward using it as an active verb.
    – WS2
    May 17, 2014 at 21:16
  • 1
    Just following on from "activates a magic item"... so you "imbue an item with magic powers"? May 18, 2014 at 5:30

5 Answers 5


As this question is still (surprisingly) open how about dumping imbue for anoint and using elixir for the noun.

I anoint my rod of merriment with the elixir of rigidity.

  • Yes, you imbue an object with a power. So the direct object is, funnily enough, the object! Jul 31, 2015 at 7:14


Someone attaches a __ to an object

Someone assigns a __ to an object

Someone charges an object with __ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Someone permeates an object with __

Someone endows an object with __

  • I like all these verbs, but I also liked the verb that I had, and the question was more about getting a noun to fill in those blanks.
    – KRyan
    May 18, 2014 at 13:32

I think you are confustulating imbue with endow.

Someone endows an endowment on an object, giving it magic powers.




verb: endow; 3rd person present: endows; past tense: endowed; past participle: endowed; gerund or present participle: endowing

  1. ...

  2. 2.

provide with a quality, ability, or asset. "he was endowed with tremendous physical strength"

synonyms: provide, supply, furnish, equip, invest, give, present, favour, bless, grace, award, gift, confer, bestow, enrich, arm; literary endue "nature endowed the human race with intelligence"


For the purposes of closing this question, I will mention that the original question on RPG was answered to my satisfaction by KorvinStarmast:


This is another word for magical effect that was used a great deal in 1e AD&D.

"My class imbues a dweomer on an item."

Example usage. (1e DMG page 52)

Carpet of flying: Carpets are the most stable of flying devices, and thus the most valuable. ...snip... While hovering or moving slowly they are ideal platforms for spell- or missile-casting ... snip... They are not so easily adapted to aerial melee, as passengers will tend to get knocked off the carpet and fall to the ground. Attempts to weave straps or seat belts into a flying carpet will generally destroy its dweomer.

Wikitionary entry:

dweomer ‎Alternative spelling of dwimmer. (fantasy, games) The magical aura on an enchanted item; or more broadly, the aura of a magic spell having been cast while active.

'Tis from an auld wyrd ...

dwimmer From Old English ġedwimor, dwimor dwimmer Noun (plural dwimmers) •(obsolete) Magic, sorcery, spell, occult art.


This is probably silly of me to reply to a four-year-old post, but I'm writing a job ad for someone to help write educational materials for kids. I want a writer who finds nearly any topic fascinating and can imbue that feeling into whatever he or she writes. I found this post when I was checking to be sure my usage of imbues meant what I intended, and I ended up with what I think is a great idea for what you were searching for!

My suggestion for your D&D game is

"imbues an emotion"

Not only is a great alliteration that will be fun to say as you play;), it really fits well with the meaning of imbue because nothing really soaks and saturates us as much as our emotions! Plus, just like you have a reference list of what various spells do when cast, you can create a list of what various emotions do when imbued. This should work perfectly for playing, and I bet it will be really fun to invent what effect various emotions have on the item or person who gets imbued!

Enjoy! micheley

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