synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of magic in English

English Online Dictionary. What means magic‎? What does magic mean?



From Middle English magik, magyk, from Old French magique (noun and adjective), from Latin magicus (adjective), magica (noun use of feminine form of magicus), from Ancient Greek μαγικός (magikós, magical), from μάγος (mágos, magus). Ultimately from Old Iranian, probably derived from Proto-Indo-European *meh₂gh- (to be able to, to help; power, 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).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈmadʒɪk/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈmædʒɪk/
  • Rhymes: -ædʒɪk


magic (usually uncountable, plural magics)

  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 […].
    • 1781, Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, II.23:
      The arts of magic and divination were strictly prohibited.
    • 1971, Keith Thomas, 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.]
  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.

Alternative forms

  • magick (fantasy, occult, now used for supernatural magic as distinguished from stage magic)
  • magicke (obsolete)
  • magique (obsolete)


  • (allegedly supernatural method to dominate natural forces): dwimmer, dweomercraft/dwimmercraft, thaumaturgy, conjuring, sorcery, witchcraft, wizardry, wizardcraft, warlockry, hexcraft, spellcraft, spellcasting, spellwork, charmwork, wandwork
  • (illusion performed to give the appearance of magic or the supernatural): sleight of hand, illusionism, legerdemain, dwimmer



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.


  • magical



magic (third-person singular simple present magics, present participle magicking, simple past and past participle magicked)

  1. (transitive) To produce, transform (something), (as if) by magic. [from 20th c.]
    • 1993, John Banville, Ghosts
      He pictured them standing about the dim hallway, magicked into immobility, glazed and mute, one with a hand raised, another bending to set down a bag, and Licht before them, nodding and twitching like a marionette, as usual.


  • (produce magically): conjure up, magic up


Derived terms


  • gamic

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.