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A wizard (from 'wise') is a practitioner of paranormal magic, especially in folklore, fantasy fiction, and fantasy role-playing games (FRPGs). The word does not generally apply to Neopagans or stage magicians like David Copperfield[?], Paul Daniels[?], or James Randi.

What makes a wizard different from an enchanter, a magician, a sorcerer, a thaumaturgist[?], etc.? Well, sorcerers are sometimes evil, "black magicians" (i.e., practitioners of black magic), but in general, not a lot, although fantasy authors and FRPGs might use the names with narrower meanings.

For example, Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition (D&D3E), distinguishes between sorcerers and wizards:

  • "Sorcerers create magic the way poets create poems, with inborn talent honed by practice."
  • "Wizards depend on intensive study to create their magic. ... For a wizard, magic is not a talent but a deliberate rewarding art."

Another example: "The difference between a wizard and a sorcerer is comparable to that between, say, a lion and a tiger, but wizards are acutely status-conscious, and to them, it's more like the difference between a lion and a dead kitten." (Steve Pemberton, The Life & Times of Lucifer Jones)

Lyndon Hardy's Master of the Five Magics suggests ascending ranks of thaumaturgist, alchemist, magician, sorcerer, and wizard.

Famous wizards in folklore and fantasy fiction (sometimes both) include:

The eponymous character of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a fake wizard hiding behind stage effects.

Wizzard[?] were a 1970s British glam rock band led by Roy Wood[?] (formerly of The Move[?]).

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