In Valis, Philip K. Dick used the idea that there are ten or fewer words in any given situation that can destroy a person, and ten or less that can set a person free. The idea of Power Words is older than sci-fi, though; it comes from the reeeely old magi and the belief that speaking the name of a god would invoke that god's power or presence. We sometimes call modern Power Words within a certain context "buzzwords".

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