Is there any difference between the types of people and their abilities, ranks, ways of life, weapons or things they use to do magic, their dressing and history:

  • a mage
  • a sorcerer
  • a magician
  • a spellcaster (spell-caster)
  • a wizard
  • a conjuror (conjurer)
  • a prestidigitator
  • an enchanter
  • a necromancer
  • an incantator

This is what I have found out so far:

  • Mages (both male and female) are mostly older men with magic staffs that operate as a source of their magic. They also use magic runes. They mostly wear robes and are very wise and prefer both dark magic and white magic.
  • Wizards (both male and female) mostly use wands or hands to create magic and are unisex. Wizards tend to use only white magic and often use plants and different object with magic.
  • A sorcerer (Sorceress for female) is mostly a person who prefers to control magic and things through magic. They often create magic. A sorcerer mostly works with his hands and body and manipulates the elements of nature.
  • Magicians (both male and female) are mostly entertainers and illusionists. They don't do real magic, but are skilled in producing illusion by sleight of hand, deceptive devices, etc.
  • A spell-caster (both male and female) is mostly a person who uses scrolls, books, and parchments to create magic. They mostly use magic to defend and protect.
  • A conjurer (both male and female) is mostly one who calls for spirits and different creatures to his aid. He also uses different powder or mixtures to create magic. He tricks people often for amusement.
  • A prestidigitator (both male and female) is like a magician only a more fancy one.
  • An enchanter (Enchantress for female) specializes in the subtle art of hexes. often they use books, scrolls to create magic or enchant object or creatures with magic powers and use them to their will.
  • A necromancer (both male and female) mostly works with dark magic. Uses different abnormal ways to create magic or resurrect creatures from the underworld. They mostly use either their body or a wand or a scepter. Necromancers are experts of summoning and cursing.
  • An incantator (both male and female) is a person who mostly uses chants to create magic. They tend to use white magic.
  • Probably better answered in Role-playing Games Stack Exchange. Outside of such specialized contexts the terms are not that crisply defined, and the above definitions are about as good as you're going to do.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 25, 2016 at 13:00
  • More than the allowed single question. Also, ELU requires that sources be referenced correctly. Nov 25, 2016 at 14:18
  • @EdwinAshworth there are too many source to collect in order to link it all up. It'll take me 24 hours and not less to do that! Nov 25, 2016 at 14:50
  • @HotLicks Because no specific game context is involved, they can't be crisply defined in a general RPG context either. (It was cross-posted to RPG.se and closed there too.) Nov 26, 2016 at 2:46

2 Answers 2


You're looking for distinction and definition where there is none (or very little) to be had. All of those words across the body of fantasy texts just mean "magic user"; with the exception of necromancer, which is someone who uses magic in some way regarding the dead. Sometimes fantasy/mythology terminology has fairly well-set definitions, but this isn't one of those times.

There is no standard definition of each of those roles beyond "uses magic". We can't read "their abilities, ranks, ways of life, weapons or things they use to do magic, their dressing and history" into peoples that don't exist and have no commonly accepted definition. These words came from a myriad of folklore and fiction, and have been defined however any particular fiction sees fit.

What may be leading you astray into feeling there is distinction to be found between these roles is that various works of fiction like to create distinction: it's useful when you've got several different kinds of magic users to give them specific names. However, that doesn't mean those distinctions exist outside that work of fiction.

Certainly, there are some unique and better-defined roles in magical fiction: druids, shamans, and witch doctors have specific connotations, but that's because these have real-world counterparts who have actual specific job definitions available.

Ultimately if you're a fiction writer, the answer to "what do these different words mean?" is "whatever you want them to mean." If you're not, you're chasing something that isn't there to be found.

Any of these terms can be taken as gender neutral. Sorcerer, enchanter, and conjurer could be given a female form of sorceress, enchantress, and conjuress; but it's not necessarily "correct" to do so — various fictional sources will happily equally call a female sorcerer exactly that, and ditch the -ess suffix.


This would definitely best be answered by internet research on lore. But I used to be involved in fantasy gaming, so I can tell you a few things from my own knowledge.

There is such a thing as an enchantress and a sorceress, so there are feminine versions of at least those two classes/types. There may be feminine versions for more of those. I would suspect that at least a few of those are unisex, but I am not sure.

All fantasy universes (Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons, the Witcher, et cetera) will have their own take on what the words mean, but there does tend to be generally accepted definitions across all of fantasy lore. For example, a necromancer is someone whose magic focuses on reanimating the dead. An enchanter provides magical properties to items/people/places that did not have them before.

I would definitely look at some of the Wikia pages for popular fantasy games, fantasy movies, or fantasy books. For example, the Lord of the Rings series has an entire encyclopedia that I believe was put out by the brother of the main author. There are also D&D pages, Diablo pages, Harry Potter pages, and more.

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