wizard

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wizard

1. a male witch or a man who practises or professes to practise magic or sorcery
2. Computing a computer program that guides a user through a complex task

Wizard

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The word "wizard" was applied in the past to a male magician or sorcerer and, occasionally, to a male Witch. The word comes from the Middle English wis, meaning "wise." According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley, the term first appeared in 1440 and was synonymous with "wise man." By the sixteenth century, it was applied to alchemists, blessers, cunningmen, sorcerers, Witches, and others. William West, in his Simboleography (1594), stated that, "Soothsayers and wizards. . . divine and foretell things to come, and raise up evil spirits by certain superstitious and conceived forms of words. And unto such words as be demanded of them, do answer by voice, or else set before their eyes in glasses, crystal stones or rings, the pictures or images of things sought."

In England the Witchcraft Acts of 1542, 1563, and 1604 made felonies of such practices as fortune-telling and divination, conjuring spirits and making love charms. Despite this many wizards continued to operate, protected by the fact that their clients were very close-mouthed about their dealings with them. The word is not used in Wicca nor in ceremonial magic.

wizard

(1)
A person who knows how a complex piece of software or hardware works (that is, who groks it); especially someone who can find and fix bugs quickly in an emergency. Someone is a hacker if he or she has general hacking ability, but is a wizard with respect to something only if he or she has specific detailed knowledge of that thing. A good hacker could become a wizard for something given the time to study it.

wizard

(2)
A person who is permitted to do things forbidden to ordinary people; one who has wheel privileges on a system.

wizard

(3)
A Unix expert, especially a Unix systems programmer. This usage is well enough established that "Unix Wizard" is a recognised job title at some corporations and to most headhunters.

See guru, lord high fixer. See also deep magic, heavy wizardry, incantation, magic, mutter, rain dance, voodoo programming, wave a dead chicken.

wizard

(4)
An interactive help utility that guides the user through a potentially complex task, such as configuring a PPP driver to work with a new modem. Wizards are often implemented as a sequence of dialog boxes which the user can move forward and backward through, filling in the details required. The implication is that the expertise of a human wizard in one of the above senses is encapsulated in the software wizard, allowing the average user to perform expertly.

wizard

A sequential on-screen dialog that assists the user in some manner. For example, installation programs are often called "installation wizards" because they provide a series of steps with options. Wizards are widely used to troubleshoot problems with software or hardware, offering a sequence of questions and multiple choice answers. The step-by-step sequence is the main attribute of a wizard. See help system.
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