"musical composition that sounds extemporaneous," 1724, from Italian fantasia, from Latin phantasia (see fantasy).
*bhā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to shine."
It forms all or part of: aphotic; bandolier; banner; banneret; beacon; beckon; buoy; diaphanous; emphasis; epiphany; fantasia; fantasy; hierophant; pant (v.); -phane; phanero-; phantasm; phantasmagoria; phantom; phase; phene; phenetic; pheno-; phenology; phenomenon; phenyl; photic; photo-; photocopy; photogenic; photograph; photon; photosynthesis; phosphorus; phaeton; sycophant; theophany; tiffany; tryptophan.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit bhati "shines, glitters;" Greek phainein "bring to light, make appear," phantazein "make visible, display;" Old Irish ban "white, light, ray of light."
early 15c., "conjurer of evil spirits," displacing earlier sorcer (late 14c.), from Old French sorcier, from Medieval Latin sortarius "teller of fortunes by lot; sorcerer" (also source of Spanish sortero, Italian sortiere; see sorcery). With superfluous -er, as in poulterer, upholsterer; perhaps the modern form of the word is back-formed from sorcery.
Sorcerer's apprentice translates l'apprenti sorcier, title of a symphonic poem by Paul Dukas (1897) based on a Goethe ballad ("Der Zauberlehrling," 1797), but the common figurative use of the term in English (1952) comes after Disney's "Fantasia" (1940).