Hex [hɛks]

1. a magic spell or curse that has been placed upon someone

2. obsolete. a witch

3. an extraordinary run of bad luck

verb (used with object)

1. to cast a magic spell or curse upon someone; to bewitch

Hex emerges from the Pennsylvanian German immigrants as hexe from the German verb hexen; the noun form is also “Hexe,” and the German word means the same thing. This comes from the Middle German “hecse.”

As a verb, its roots can be traced back in use to the mid-19 century. This is unrelated to the prefix hexa-, which comes from the ancient Greek word for “six.”

With the 50th annual Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival coming up, know that the Finnish has many words for “a hex” or “to hex,” including the nouns noita, taika and loitsu, and the verbs kirota and loitsia, while the Norwegians have forhekse among others.

“Miss Denmark Meisha Boettcher was crowned Miss Scandinavia 2015 on Friday. Following the coronation ceremony, she led the Torchlight Parade to the bonfire where festival-goers threw straw hexes into the fire. The tradition symbolizes getting rid of bad luck for the year.”

—​ Joshua Bessex, “Midsummer fun and folklore: Scandinavian Fest crowns a new queen, honors traditions,” The Daily Astorian, June 22, 2015

“A hex-making event for the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival has been rescheduled for 5 tonight. It will be held at the First Congregational Church, 820 Alameda Ave.”

—​“Festival helpers to make hexes,” The Daily Astorian, March 24, 2003

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