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  • parlor trick is a reference to a magic trick or slight of hand trick performed in a home (i.e., in the parlor of a home), usually by a guest or family member for the entertainment of other guests or family members, such as after dinner. It dates well back in time to before television. Today, it is often used in reference to simple tricks (as opposed to professional magician's acts) capable of being performed by amateurs, i.e., in the phrase "a simple parlor trick" to denegrate the sophistication of someone's apparent ability to do something not obviously possible. "Why, making coins disappear from a locked box is little more than a parlor trick and not truly a sign of a great magician". "It would be quite the parlor trick for the Seanator to get out of this scandal without a black mark on his record".

    June 28, 2009