see also: Magic
  • (British) IPA: /ˈmadʒɪk/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈmædʒɪk/

magic (uncountable)

  1. The application of rituals or actions, especially those based on occult knowledge, to subdue or manipulate natural or supernatural beings and forces in order to have some benefit from them [from 14th c.]
    • c. 1489, William Caxton, Foure Sonnes of Aymon:
      And whan he shall be arrayed as I telle you / lete hym thenne doo his incantacyons & his magyke as he wyll […].
    • 1653, William Basse, “The Metamorphosis of the Wallnut-tree of Borestall. In an Eglogue and 3 Cantos, betweene Jasper and Jefferye.”, in J[ohn] P[ayne] C[ollier], editor, The Pastorals and Other Workes of William Basse. […] (Miscellaneous Tracts, Temp. Eliz. & Jac. I), [London: s.n.], published 1870, OCLC 1062069941 ↗, canto 2, stanza 19, page 122 ↗:
      But by what magique I, that here have ſtood / Four hunderd yeares (thou know’ſt how truly ſpoke), / Can now remove, think’ſt thou?
    • 1781, Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, II.23:
      The arts of magic and divination were strictly prohibited.
    • 1971, Keith Thomas (historian), Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, p. 23:
      Conversions to the new religion […] have frequently been assisted by the view of converts that they are acquiring not just a means of otherworldly salvation, but a new and more powerful magic.
  2. A specific ritual or procedure associated with such magic; a spell. [from 14th c.]
  3. The supernatural forces which are drawn on in such a ritual
  4. Something producing successful and remarkable results, especially when not fully understood; an enchanting quality; exceptional skill. [from 17th c.]
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, “The Elopers”, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, OCLC 483591931 ↗, page 25 ↗:
      The original family who had begun to build a palace to outrival Nonesuch had died out before they had put up little more than the gateway, so that the actual structure which had come down to posterity retained the secret magic of a promise rather than the overpowering splendour of a great architectural achievement.
  5. A conjuring trick or illusion performed to give the appearance of supernatural phenomena or powers. [from 19th c.]
  6. (computing, slang) Complicated or esoteric code that is not expected to be generally understood.
    • 2017, Jacek Galowicz, C++17 STL Cookbook (page 257)
      The stringstream class hides a lot of string parsing magic from us at this point.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Adjective

magic (not comparable)

  1. Having supernatural talents, properties or qualities attributed to magic. [from 14th c.]
    a magic wand; a magic dragon
  2. Producing extraordinary results, as though through the use of magic; wonderful, amazing. [from 17th c.]
    a magic moment
  3. Pertaining to conjuring tricks or illusions performed for entertainment etc. [from 19th c.]
    a magic show; a magic trick
  4. (colloquial) Great; excellent. [from 20th c.]
    — I cleaned up the flat while you were out. — Really? Magic!
  5. (physics) Describing the number of nucleons in a particularly stable isotopic nucleus; 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, 126, and 184. [from 20th c.]
  6. (programming) Being a literal number or string value with no meaning or context, not defined as a constant or variable [from 20th c.]
    The code is full of magic numbers and we can't figure out what they mean.
Synonyms Translations Translations
  • Portuguese: mágico
  • Russian: волше́бный
  • Portuguese: mágico
  • Russian: волше́бный

magic (magics, present participle magicking; past and past participle magicked)

  1. (transitive) To produce, transform (something), (as if) by magic. [from 20th c.]
Proper noun
  1. An Allied cryptanalysis project, during and prior to World War II, that decrypted Japanese messages.
Related terms
  • Ultra the UK effort to decrypt German messages in WW II

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