The Magic 8 Ball may look easy, and it is too – easiest fortune-telling device available. All you do is ask a question, shake it slightly (although most sources suggest refraining from doing so), and then you turn it over and read its response through that little window at its base. Right?
But what are all the answers and what do they all mean? A standard Magic 8 Ball has a total of 20 answers – 10 affirmative, 5 non-committal and 5 negatives. The Magic 8 Balls responses (explained in detail below) are very carefully and statistically designed to be accurate and each of them mean something much more than they seem to say.You can trust its answers too, just as much as your intuitive voice tells you to.
The Answers on the Magic 8 Ball
A standard Magic 8 Ball has 20 possible answers shown in the table below, including 10 affirmative answers , 5 non-committal answers, and 5 negative answers, such as Concentrate and ask again and Reply hazy, try again.
The answers are actually on a white die, floating at the centre of the Magic 8 Ball – the words are raised so that they can be visible when the die is pressed against the little glass window.
|Affirmative Answers||Non – Committal Answers||Negative Answers|
|It is certain||Reply hazy, try again||Don’t count on it|
|It is decidedly so||Ask again later||My reply is no|
|Without a doubt||Better not tell you now||My sources say no|
|Yes definitely||Cannot predict now||Outlook not so good|
|You may rely on it||Concentrate and ask again||Very doubtful|
|As I see it, yes|
|Signs point to yes|
The answers of the Magic 8 Ball are very simple and straightforward. But they have a bit of a catch. You really need to understand the answers in reference to your question to decode how you should implement it in your situation. For example, the affirmative answer, Outlook Good, could have different meanings in different situations such as –
- Should I finally ask out my crush on a date?
Meaning – Yes, you definitely should. What are you waiting for!
- Is this the right time for me to give in my resignation and look for better opportunities?
Meaning – Go for it. The time is right. There is a world full of opportunities waiting for you out there!
- Should I get a college degree, now that I know what my passion is?
Meaning – Life is finally beginning to make sense. You know what you love doing. Go ahead. Get a degree, hone your talents, strengthen your gifts. The world is your oyster.
Its honestly wonderful – the number of options you have with the Magic 8 Ball. Like your own secret Santa. Lets dive in a bit deeper, with detailed explanations of all the possible answers for a question.
How to Interpret the Response
Its important to understand that the Magic 8 Ball cannot change the physical reality, the past, present or the future. It will only tell you the truth you want to or need to hear. You will also not always get the right answer – which makes it trustworthy. Just like real life, most of the times it’s a yes, other times a no, and sometimes it is also a non-committal response.
Lets look at a few examples to understand how to interpret the many responses of the Magic 8 Ball. We’re borrowing a question from the suggested ones on the original packaging of the first Magic 8 Ball, and doing a detailed analysis of a few of the possible answers.
Magic 8-Ball, inquiring minds want to know:
Q: Can our team win?
A1: You may rely on it.
Obviously means a Yes, the team can definitely win. However, if you read between the lines, it means that the win can possibly be relied upon, but is not a sure shot Yes.
A2: Signs point to yes.
This response is a surer shot Yes.
A3: Most likely.
An answer more tilted towards a Yes than a No.
A4: Very doubtful.
A less sure shot No, but somewhere in the middle. So the team might win, higher chances are that it might not.
A5: My sources say no.
A definite No for an answer!
A6: Don’t count on it.
A heart-sinking Negative response.
A7: Cannot predict now.
Definitely one of its more non-committal answers. More like the Magic 8 Ball saying try again if you still want an answer, or accept this as one.
A8: Concentrate and ask again.
In our opinion, this response is Magic 8 Balls absolute best. More like the Ball telling you that you aren’t concentrating on your question and on what you really want enough – Consciously concentrate on what you want, ask again and the Ball (the universe?) will give it to you. In other words, find the thing that opens your wonderful, adventurous, compassionate, intelligent heart.
Not satisfied? Reframe your Question and start again.
Bonus tip: Now, we suggest, you frame the question more directly to make more sense of the answer you receive. For example, Can our team win this season? OR Can our team win the match today? OR Can our team win the final tournament this year? Can our team ever win again after this defeat? Etcetera. Add more details, narrow it down. Add a time stamp. And then your answers will make more sense.
Lets try this again, with our reframes question and ALL the answers explained this time. Compare with the same responses above to get a better idea of the difference that reframing the question has made on the meaning of your now new responses.
Q: Can our team win the match today?
A1: It is certain.
Obviously means a Yes, the team can definitely win the match today. However, if you read between the lines, it means that the win can possibly be relied upon, but is not a sure shot Yes. Meaning what exactly? If your team works hard and is motivated enough, the match today is yours!
A2: It is decidedly so.
The word decidedlymeans to a great extent and in a way that isveryobvious. Something described as being decidedly a certain way isabsolutely that way, with no hint of doubt. So the win for the teams match today is a win-win and the players should confidently play without any hesitation.
A3: Without a doubt.
If you say that something is true without doubt or without a doubt, you areemphasizing that it is definitely true. Absolutely or with absolute certainty; with no doubt whatsoever. Hence, the team is definitely winning today, and that it could not is not even a topic of discussion.
A4: Yes definitely.
This answer means certainly —used as more emphatic affirmative reply than “yes” alone. Hence, the teams win today is a definite sure shot. Again, something that we don’t have any doubts about.
A5: You may rely on it.
Means to trust or believe – someone or something, in this case the Magic 8 Ball. Obviously means a Yes, the team can definitely win. However, if you read between the lines, it means that the win can possibly be relied upon, but is not a sure shot Yes.
A6: As I see it, yes.
ThemeaningofYESis —used as a word to express agreement or affirmation to emphasize and amplify the affirmative answer. Do you want that?Yes, I do. Will the team win? Yes, it will. Will the team win the match today? Yes, it will win the match today.
A7: Most likely.
More likely than not: like a probably. For example, It will most likely rain tomorrow. It will most likely be sunny tomorrow. An answer more tilted towards a Yes than a No. The team will most likely win the match today than not.
A8: Outlook good.
The outlook looks good!The predictions are good!The probable situation looks positive! The victory of the team looks definite!
This one is the simplest, most direct response. Yes, meaning, an affirmative answer or decision. Almost like expressing great pleasure, excitement, or even encouragement at the victory ahead.
A10: Signs point to yes.
This response is a surer shot Yes. That it will very likely happen. For example, all signs point to the mayor winning the election, means the mayor will probably win the election but it is not 100% guaranteed. Hence, all the signs point to, yes, the victory of the team in todays game, meaning the team will probably win the game, but there is perhaps a 1% chance that something might not go as planned and the team might scoot very closely past the victory. So be careful!
Non – Committal Answers
A1: Reply hazy, try again.
Try again simply means totry something twice or many more times. So, maybe it just means to try asking the Ball again – now or later. It doesn’t know whether or not your team can win today, yet.
A2: Ask again later.
Ask again later usually means exactly what it seems to mean – ask later. This is usually a tactic to delay an unpleasant response or one for the Ball to buy time to ponder the answer further. But look at it like this – Its an option for you to try your luck with the Ball again in a while, and it might just give you the answer that you are looking for.
A3: Better not tell you now.
Again, this could be the Ball saying – I know your future but the time isn’t right for you to know yet. Try again for an answer that is more right for you. Trust the Ball when you get this response, and either let go for the day or try again, in a while.
A4: Cannot predict now.
Definitely one of its more non-committal answers. More like the Magic 8 Ball saying try again if you still want an answer, or accept this as one. Will the team win the match today? Ah, hard to predict that right now.
A5: Concentrate and ask again.
In our opinion, this response is Magic 8 Balls absolute best. More like the Ball telling you that you aren’t concentrating on your question and on what you really want enough – Consciously concentrate on what you want, ask again and the Ball (the universe?) will give it to you. In other words, find the thing that opens your wonderful, adventurous, compassionate, intelligent heart. Visualise the teams indefinite victory today and then ask it again for a more positive answer. Like we always say – its all about your intention.
A1: Don’t count on it.
A heart-sinking Negative response. This is the Magic 8 Ball cautioning you against expecting something. For example, yes, you might have overheard the bosses talking at the Christmas party, but don’t count on the bonus this holiday season. If you think your team is going to win the match today, don’t count on it. There are factors that may be hindering the win. eLets do this again.
A2: My reply is no.
If there is one answer that you do not want to see on the Magic 8 Ball, it is this one. Heart-sinking of them all. No percentage or chances. The response is a flat no. Is the team going to win the match today? No, it is not. But the trick here is to not loose hope. It may be no for a reason. It is a chance for you to step back, re-evaluate and then give the victory of the team a re-attempt.
A3: My sources say no.
A definite No for an answer! But like we said before, do not loose hope. It may be no for a reason. It is a chance for you to step back, re-evaluate and then give it a re-attempt.
A4: Outlook not so good.
This response is more of a point of view or way of looking at a situation, the probable or expected condition or outcome of something, a view or prospect. So the teams victory definitely doesn’t look a probably possibility. Oops.
A5: Very doubtful.
A less sure shot No, but somewhere in the middle. So the team might win, higher chances are that it might not.
Do you know how many answers the original Magic 8 Ball had?
You know now that the standard Magic 8 Ball available in the markets today have a 20 sided white plastic die inside it with the answers you see as the die itself floats in the blue liquid which gives the effect of the answer slowly appearing as you look through the window – 20 possible answers.
But do you know how many answers the very original first Ball had?
The number of answers has varied throughout the history of the device. In its first version, there were two 6 sided dice were used to provide the answers. This gave a total of only 12 answers. The first major revision saw this being reduced to a single die, giving the possibility of just six answers. Then came the final Magic 8 Ball version that we find in the markets today, with 20 possible answers.
A bit of a background on how this came about.
In the 1940s, a clairvoyant by the name of Mary Carter, in Cincinnati, inspired her son with an object she used with her clients – a container with a small chalk slate inside it. She would shake the container and open it to reveal the clients answer to the question, written on the slate. Her son, Albert Carter, advanced the design into an easier to operate device – the Syco Seer. A simple cylinder with both transparent ends, filled with molasses, and two dice with answers written on each face – a TOTAL of 12 answers. When it was shaken and up-ended, one of the dice would drift to the top, revealing a random face/answer.
Albert Carter took his idea to a local merchant, with the intention of getting it mass-produced. The merchant, Max Levinson, with his brother-in-law, Abe Bookman, altered the design by reducing the number of windows to one, changing the molasses to inky water and naming in Syco Slate. This version now had only one 6 sided die with answers – a TOTAL of 6 answers.
It was Bookman who then decided to change the overall shape to that of a crystal ball, in collaboration a Chicago-based company called Brunswick Billiards, in 1950. An 8-Ball variant was made, which was so successful that it eventually became the Magic 8 Ball that we see today, with a 20 sided die inside it – a TOTAL of 20 answers, manufactured and patented by the toy store, Mattel.
The Magic 8 Ball has endured for more than a half-century. It was a brilliant idea of the son of a clairvoyant, brainchild of a merchant and finally the patented mass-produced toy of a toy company. But it is more than just a toy.
It has become an icon of popular culture, with appearances in shows such as TheDick Van Dyke Showin the 1960s, Friends, Seinfeld, Murphy Brown,andThe Daily Show.Variations of the original seem almost as popular as the real thing. Individuals can now commission a customized version, and online editions respond to typed questions. The original that started with just 12 simple answers is now a world favourite with over 20 possible answers to different scenarios! Each answer is unique, and means more than just what it appears to be.
Keep your options open, intentions clear and ask the ball what you want. The answer can mean anything at all!
Reference 1: Encyclopedia Britannica – Where Did the Idea for the Magic 8 Ball Come From?
Reference 2: LinkedIn – Chance vs. Choice: Life Lessons from the Magic 8 Ball
Reference 3: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Reference 4: Medium – Eight Ball Answers ~ Ask Again Later by Aramis Thorn
Reference 5: Today I Found Out – Inventing The Magic 8-Ball
Reference 6: Reverso Dictionary
Reference 7: Core 77 – Toy Design History: How They Came Up with the Magic 8 Ball
Reference 8: Museum of Play – Outlook Good: Magic 8 Ball Inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame
Reference 9: Mental Floss – A Brief History of the Magic 8 Ball
Reference 10: Book – Dictionary of Toys and Games in American Popular Culture by Frank Hoffmann, Frederick J Augustyn, Jr, Martin J Manning, Published in 2013
Reference 11: Book – Timeless Toys; Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them byTim Walsh, Published in 2005
Figure 1 – You can Trust the Magic 8 Balls answers!
Image with Stock Photos
Figure 2 – Yes, you may rely on it.
Image from Stock Photos
Figure 3 – Looking at the Original Magic 8 Ball packaging, with its original suggested questions to ask
Figure 4 – The FIRST version – The Syco Seer – with 12 answers.
Figure 5 – The SECOND version – The Syco Slate – with 6 answers.
Figure 6 – The THIRD and FINAL version – The Magic 8 Ball – with 20 possible answers.