Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The art or practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature.
  • noun The charms, spells, and rituals so used.
  • noun The exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring, as in making something seem to disappear, for entertainment.
  • noun A mysterious quality of enchantment.
  • adjective Of, relating to, or invoking the supernatural.
  • adjective Possessing distinctive qualities that produce unaccountable or baffling effects.
  • transitive verb To produce, alter, or cause by or as if by magic.
  • transitive verb To cause to disappear by or as if by magic. Used with away.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Any supposed supernatural art; especially, the pretended art of controlling the actions of spiritual or superhuman beings.
  • noun Power or influence similar to that of enchantment: as, the magic of love.
  • noun Conjuring; tricks of legerdemain.
  • noun Control of natural forces through the knowledge of their laws.
  • Pertaining to or connected with the exercise of magic; having supposed supernatural qualities or powers; enchanting; bewitching: as, magic arts or spells; a magic wand or circle; a magic touch; magic squares.
  • Produced by or resulting from or as if from magic; exhibiting the effects of enchantment: as, magic music; magic transformations.
  • Operating as if by magic; causing illusion; producing wonderful results.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A comprehensive name for all of the pretended arts which claim to produce effects by the assistance of supernatural beings, or departed spirits, or by a mastery of secret forces in nature attained by a study of occult science, including enchantment, conjuration, witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, incantation, etc.
  • noun The art of creating illusions which appear to the observer to be inexplicable except by some supernatural influence; it includes simple sleight of hand (legerdemain) as well as more elaborate stage magic, using special devices constructed to produce mystifying effects. It is practised as an entertainment, by magicians who do not pretend to have supernatural powers.
  • noun a supposed supernatural power which gave to spirits a kind of dominion over the planets, and to the planets an influence over men.
  • noun the art of employing the powers of nature to produce effects apparently supernatural.
  • noun the invocation of devils or demons, involving the supposition of some tacit or express agreement between them and human beings.
  • adjective Pertaining to the hidden wisdom supposed to be possessed by the Magi; relating to the occult powers of nature, and the producing of effects by their agency.
  • adjective Performed by, or proceeding from, occult and superhuman agencies; done by, or seemingly done by, enchantment or sorcery.
  • adjective a series of concentric circles containing the numbers 12 to 75 in eight radii, and having somewhat similar properties to the magic square.
  • adjective (Zoöl.) a Mexican humming bird (Iache magica) , having white downy thing tufts.
  • adjective See Lantern.
  • adjective numbers so disposed in parallel and equal rows in the form of a square, that each row, taken vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, shall give the same sum, the same product, or an harmonical series, according as the numbers taken are in arithmetical, geometrical, or harmonical progression.
  • adjective a wand used by a magician in performing feats of magic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Allegedly supernatural charm, spell or other method to dominate natural forces.
  • noun A ritual associated with supernatural magic or with mysticism.
  • noun An illusion performed to give the appearance of magic or the supernatural.
  • noun A cause not quite understood.
  • noun figuratively Something spectacular or wonderful.
  • noun computing, slang Any behaviour of a program or algorithm that cannot be explained or is yet to be defined or implemented.
  • adjective Having supernatural talents, properties or qualities attributed to magic.
  • adjective Featuring illusions that are usually performed for entertainment.
  • adjective Wonderful, amazing or incredible.
  • adjective physics Describing the number of nucleons in a particularly stable isotopic nucleus; 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, 126, and 184
  • adjective UK, slang Great; ideal.
  • verb transitive To cast a magic spell on or at someone or something.
  • verb transitive To produce something, as if by magic.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective possessing or using or characteristic of or appropriate to supernatural powers
  • noun any art that invokes supernatural powers
  • noun an illusory feat; considered magical by naive observers

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English magik, from Old French magique, from Late Latin magica, from Latin magicē, from Greek magikē, from feminine of magikos, of the Magi, magical, from magos, magician, magus; see magus.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English magik, from Old French magique, reborrowed from Latin magice, borrowed from Ancient Greek μαγική (magikē, "magical") (τέχνη (tekhnē, "art")), derived from μάγος (magos), from magos magus, sorcerer, of Iranian origin; akin to Old Persian 𐎶𐎦𐎢𐏁 (maguš, "sorcerer"). Displaced native Middle English dweomercraft ("magic, magic arts") (from Old English dwimor ("phantom, illusion") + cræft ("art")), Old English galdorcræft ("magic, enchantment"), Old English drȳcræft ("magic, sorcery").

Examples

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  • As for the phrase magic mushroom, it would have to wait until 1957, when it first turned up in a Life magazine article that a young Professor Timothy Leary would read with interest before trying magic mushrooms himself and exhorting everyone else in the USA similarly to indulge.

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  • As for the phrase magic mushroom, it would have to wait until 1957, when it first turned up in a Life magazine article that a young Professor Timothy Leary would read with interest before trying magic mushrooms himself and exhorting everyone else in the USA similarly to indulge.

    The English Is Coming!

  • I had the pleasure of visiting the Mabel's Labels offices today and seeing where the label magic happens.

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  • I had the pleasure of visiting the Mabel's Labels offices today and seeing where the label magic happens.

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  • Plus, the reason for the madness in magic is different in Nobble Jr.

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  • Plus, the reason for the madness in magic is different in Nobble Jr.

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  • Most of the posters here are lumping semi-science, Bruce-Banner-was-hit-by-gamma-rays type stuff in as magic, but for the purpose of my post, I'm confining the term magic to refer to effects that are not accompanied by science-ish explanations

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Comments

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  • A thing that must be in the air if people are ever going to fall in love.

    August 29, 2008

  • Magic... or booze.

    August 29, 2008

  • Penny Arcade (11/02/09):

    "He's a wizard, and he used magic."

    "I get that, but in the context of..."

    "MAGIC!"

    November 24, 2009