Definition of magic in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

    ‘suddenly, as if by magic, the doors start to open’
    • ‘What makes people believe in magic, the supernatural and psychic powers?’
    • ‘Ancient peoples on these islands believed the sacred waters derived their magic from spiritual forces.’
    • ‘Though surprised, the villagers accepted his story because they believed that the power of voodoo magic made such things possible.’
    • ‘Castaneda's books are full of stories of magic, sorcery, and out-of-body experiences.’
    • ‘As if by magic, Guinevere looked up, and met Lancelot's gaze head-on.’
    • ‘New sofas, beds and carpets appeared, as if by magic, along with an array of gleaming electrical appliances for the kitchen.’
    • ‘She was able to stick things to her body and they would stay there as if by some force of magic.’
    • ‘At first I thought nothing would happen, but suddenly, as if by magic, the people parted in front of us, leaving a clear path.’
    • ‘He does believe in the power of magic, and of spells, to change life for the better.’
    • ‘The drawings were rearranged, as if by magic, to reveal Otu's castle.’
    • ‘His limbs may fail him, but, as if by magic, they regain their vigour, and he stands erect, ready for battle after battle until he has laid low his enemy and liberated the country.’
    • ‘Explanations that involve supernatural forces or magic are also fine in a fantasy world.’
    • ‘That his works on magic have influenced modern occultism substantially, is also unfortunately undeniable.’
    • ‘A barren area becomes a young plantation as if by magic, raw slope one day, a healthy young forest the next.’
    • ‘The door slammed shut and they turned to see Benjamin lowering his finger after performing his evil magic.’
    • ‘The automatic garage doors opened as if by magic as they approached, and they drove out into the night.’
    • ‘I can concentrate my magical energies in a location that has been influenced by the power of magic, like these disturbances here.’
    • ‘Her footman jumped down and the carriage door opened, as if by magic.’
    • ‘We asked the closest vendor if we could have a beer, and two ice cold bottles appeared as if by magic, along with two large green plastic glasses and did we want any ice?’
    • ‘And then, as if by magic, the sails began rising, seemingly of their own accord.’
    sorcery, witchcraft, wizardry, necromancy, enchantment, spellworking, incantation, the supernatural, occultism, the occult, black magic, the black arts, devilry, divination, malediction, voodoo, hoodoo, sympathetic magic, white magic, witching, witchery
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    1. 1.1Mysterious tricks, such as making things disappear and reappear, performed as entertainment.
      [as modifier] ‘his parents bought him a magic set for Christmas’
      • ‘Almost every single trick he does can be bought from a professional magic trick supplier.’
      • ‘In the world of magic, tricks were learned that could be used in everyday life.’
      • ‘Perhaps to children, Santa is still a jolly old man who bestows gifts upon them and performs magic that can make reindeer fly.’
      • ‘He had puzzles for everyone, as always, some magic tricks, and plenty of jokes.’
      • ‘Rita and Shelly have contributed a number of fun magic tricks that are easy to do and have really wonderful results.’
      • ‘Now when I call your name, I will tell you what element of magic to perform and demonstrate it.’
      • ‘Mitch was busy showing Kelly and Krystal some magic tricks, as he approached.’
      • ‘There are some who can perform magic tricks while others cannot even shuffle a deck of cards.’
      • ‘She's promised to teach me some magic tricks later.’
      • ‘Most magic tricks are done with specially made gadgets that are deceptively hollow but which look solid.’
      • ‘It's great fun for children, with the magic lamp and mandatory puffs of smoke from which the genie appears and performs his magic.’
      • ‘On the death of their grandfather, who was a famed stage magician, a brother and sister discover that not all of the old man's magic was performed on a stage.’
      • ‘You'll have seen the madcap clowning, close harmony singing, movie pastiches and magic performed by various performers in various guises.’
      • ‘Davis Valarkavu, from Thrissur, taught them some little tricks of magic.’
      • ‘Between them they dispense alchemic and astrological advice and even perform magic by summoning the Queen of the Fairies.’
      • ‘They are capable of a lot of magic tricks like flying on an animal in the air.’
      • ‘It is easy enough to see the appeal of magic performed by those skilled in sleight of hand and the art of illusion.’
      • ‘Each school will be treated to an hour of magic, illusion and entertainment with lots of jokes, surprises and audience participation.’
      • ‘This series features the usual staples of magic, including card tricks, the spinning rings, and the cup and balls.’
      • ‘Peter Snow's magic swingometer tricks don't look so clever now that we can all do it ourselves.’
      conjuring tricks, sleight of hand, legerdemain, illusion, prestidigitation, deception, trickery, juggling
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    2. 1.2A quality of being beautiful and delightful in a way that seems remote from daily life.
      ‘the magic of the theatre’
      • ‘In addition to the message, A Christmas Carol is unadulterated theatre magic designed to yank at the heartstrings.’
      • ‘Certainly, the world will never regain for us that quality of hope and magic which it once had, but with the passage of years our pain will ease.’
      • ‘The second half was magic, beautiful, brilliant, particularly when in the 22nd or 23rd minute of the half Peter Withe scored.’
      • ‘Yorkston apologises profusely for only playing six songs, but while the set seems a little truncated, he still manages to conjure up some moments of real magic.’
      • ‘It seems that the ultimate mysteriousness of horses adds a quality of magic to the transactions of the gambler.’
      • ‘However, he also produced moments of magic - including two stunning strikes against Tottenham two seasons ago, both from long distance.’
      • ‘Arveladze's moment of magic on the half hour was simply delightful.’
      • ‘If Dennis the Menace remains in England, lovers of the beautiful game can anticipate many more moments of magic to store away in the memory banks.’
      • ‘The magic of that moment is rekindled in a new Edinburgh show of Kelly's work, the first, surprisingly given his influence and importance, ever held in Scotland.’
      • ‘But a moment of magic from Adam Harris brought the Blues back into the game and set the stage for a memorable second half.’
      • ‘The potential magic of theater is that, no matter how many months or years a show has run, each performance is unique, and the audience is part of it.’
      • ‘The Polar Express is cinematic magic - a delightful tale guaranteed to enthrall viewers of all ages.’
      • ‘Magic is what brought us to the game as children and, if we are completely honest, it is what keeps us following the game: the next twist of the tale, the next moment of beauty and magic.’
      • ‘And that is pretty much the story of the whole album: moments of supreme art-rock magic undermined by a lack of direction, focus and clarity.’
      • ‘It's a world of magic, beauty and celebration of the human form.’
      • ‘All of it was so delicately beautiful - magic, in a way, just as Raven herself seemed to be.’
      • ‘It is being staged by Ian Judge, a director who does not always find depth in a work but is guaranteed to bring a quality of pleasing theatrical magic.’
      • ‘So prepare for the Laird's party and birthday surprise with the people of the island, and watch as this renowned theatre company work their magic on a well-known story.’
      • ‘Flowing space, quality materials and sheer magic are impossible to capture in an exhibition.’
      • ‘This show appeals to all ages with its exciting, fast-paced story, fantastic images and beautiful puppet magic.’
      allure, allurement, attraction, excitement, enchantment, entrancement, fascination, charm, glamour, magnetism, enticement
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    3. 1.3informal Exceptional skill or talent.
      ‘he's been working his magic on New Zealand movies for the past two decades’
      • ‘In 2003, Cutkosky performed his magic again on a problem that originated about 100 years ago.’
      • ‘Johnny has performed his magic on several recordings and for the past 18 years has held the most secure job of anyone on this album, - he works as the doorman for the Toronto Hilton Hotel.’
      • ‘Top stylist Claire-Louise worked her magic with skill, styling Helen's hair to suit her new, slimmer face shape.’
      skill, skilfulness, brilliance, ability, accomplishment, adeptness, competence, adroitness, deftness, dexterity, aptitude, expertise, expertness, art, finesse, experience, professionalism, talent, cleverness, smartness
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  • 1Having or apparently having supernatural powers.

    ‘a magic wand’
    • ‘After spending 40 years in the cave, Huang, whose real name was Huang Chuping, had the magic power of turning stones into sheep.’
    • ‘I may have been superhuman when I was nine, but evidently the magic powers have worn off.’
    • ‘When local peasants try to remove the crystal from its grotto, believing that this would rescue them from a life of poverty, the crystal loses its magic powers.’
    • ‘From thence he made his way to Egypt - there, if possible, to learn the art of working wonders by magic spells.’
    • ‘No, vinegar does not have magic powers, says Cleveland nutritionist Cindy Moore.’
    • ‘The ring is very powerful; it definitely is a good luck charm, and, according to my grandmother, it has magic powers.’
    • ‘You have passed the test of compassion, and I will grant you wishes and riches and magic powers!’
    • ‘During the trial, Roulet testified that his lycanthropic ability was the result of a magic salve in his possession.’
    • ‘She bore incredible magic powers even at a young age; now she was quite possibly the mightiest wizard in the immediate area.’
    • ‘Her teddy bear comes alive and gives her magic powers.’
    • ‘‘Go for it,’ Maeve said amused at how much she would have loved to have magic powers at this age.’
    • ‘The eye-catching clusters of life-size Winnie the Pooh bears seem to have a magic power that locks your gaze onto them.’
    • ‘Choosing a carpet can be difficult, but imagine if you had to select one on the strength of its magic powers.’
    • ‘I was fascinated by stories of magic powers and yogis.’
    • ‘A magic ring provides powers of flight and, later, invisibility to its wearers.’
    • ‘In Africa, the songs of crickets are said to have magic powers.’
    • ‘Legends, however, sprang up and abounded about Asclepias' magic powers making the other gods jealous with envy.’
    • ‘Your extraterrestrial friends are waiting round the corner with a magic device containing the power to zap you across the galaxy - or anywhere at all that isn't the here and now.’
    • ‘Mrs Hill's early childhood was spent opposite the gasworks in North Kensington where local folklore held that the gasworks' fumes had magic healing qualities.’
    • ‘Commonly, sorcerers might carry a magic implement to store power in, so the recitation of a whole spell wouldn't be necessary.’
    supernatural, enchanted, occult, druidical
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    1. 1.1[attributive]Very effective in producing the desired results.
      ‘confidence is the magic ingredient needed to spark recovery’
      • ‘Fleetingly melodic throughout, the final magic ingredient is the vocals of Annette Berlin.’
      • ‘The magic ingredient, whether for poetry or prose, is that it should have something to say.’
      • ‘They're trying to find the magic formula to get those younger viewers that the advertising agencies want.’
      • ‘The magic ingredient is the Omega 3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.’
      • ‘‘I think I've discovered the magic formula’ said Japan's French coach Philippe Troussier.’
      • ‘Mick Inkpen hit on the magic formula of familiarity-breeds-content well over a decade ago, and has been capitalising on it ever since.’
      • ‘Deet is the magic ingredient in mosquito repellents, so when you go to buy some, check the label - if it has DEET, then get it.’
      • ‘The shaman must also be a person of good character who follows many specific rules or the magic formulas will not work to drive away evil spirits.’
      • ‘Closer, the celebrity women's weekly from the team behind Heat, seems to have found the magic circulation formula that has eluded more traditional women's titles.’
      • ‘None of us need feel anxious about trying to be contemporary, he assures us, because none of us has yet figured out the magic formula of living in the past or the future.’
      • ‘Never ones to miss a trick, record companies were quick to try and recreate the magic formula.’
      • ‘Being open 24/7 is another part of the magic formula that lets Life Time Fitness offer attractive rates.’
      • ‘Jimmy knows that he has a gift, and I asked him what the magic ingredient is to keep people laughing.’
      • ‘The magic ingredients for protecting against wrinkles appear to be vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc.’
      • ‘Her decision to re-enter formal education and gain a degree boosted her self confidence, but proved not to be the magic formula for a job.’
      • ‘Adam finally found the magic formula and we're back up and running.’
      • ‘It also taught us, by letting us shred some business plans that succeeded, that there is no magic formula for picking a successful business.’
      • ‘Where is this magic formula which will satisfy everybody all the time?’
      • ‘Gordon was the magic ingredient in James's recipe but was hidden from view.’
      • ‘The coaches agree that it's going to take the players some time to adapt to new teams and new set-ups - they've got a lot of new players and they've just not found the magic formula yet.’
  • 2British informal Wonderful; exciting.

    ‘it was a great time, magic’
    • ‘The video clips can be recorded so users can relive magic moments - or even use them to taunt pals who support rival teams.’
    • ‘This man had magic in his boots and gave his fans many, many magic moments.’
    • ‘The purpose of this book is simple: to help people make the most of their own magic moments with orchids.’
    • ‘Make it easy on yourself - enjoy the magic moments in life - they are too few and far between.’
    • ‘It may sound contrived but was just the kind of magic moment the fans love to see - it was just a shame there weren't more there to see it.’
    • ‘In every big transaction there is a magic moment during which a man has surrendered a treasure, and during which the man who is due to receive it, has not yet done so.’
    • ‘Make sure you bring your camera along to capture the magic moments as the children radiate happiness at the sight of their heroes appearing in real life before their very eyes.’
    • ‘They had not been warned that it was a busman's holiday and that they were going to be sharing their magic moment with an ever-shifting, never-thinning crowd.’
    • ‘I speculated that my magic moment would arrive when I was a little older and wiser, and my picture was then ‘aged’ by our graphics team.’
    • ‘I have finished the books I am reviewing and have come to the magic moment when I get to choose some reading matter.’
    • ‘‘Movie promoters say that a successful film has to have five magic moments for each viewer,’ said Haydee.’
    • ‘The performance, as with flamenco guitar, provided the ‘duende’ that he considered the magic moment of the poem.’
    • ‘If you wanted one magic moment with which to sum up the championships, you would look no further than Eunice Barber and the last-round jump that took her to long jump gold.’
    • ‘You know those magic moments in your music appreciation history that you constantly look back on?’
    • ‘We need not imagine that there is a magic moment when an embryo passes over a moral threshold of personhood.’
    • ‘Mattie Dowd will be there with his camera to capture the magic moment when the children meet Santa and afterwards there will be a disco.’
    • ‘The much awaited magic moment arrived on July 20th in a moving opening ceremony.’
    • ‘Expect a fancy dress competition, choral warm-up and ‘crazy magic moments with the help of your free fun-filled goody bag’.’
    • ‘Jane said the trip had many magic moments but for her the achievement of others made it special.’
    • ‘Nobody said a word and nobody did anything, as if the person who did so would bring an end to this magic moment.’
    fascinating, captivating, charming, glamorous, magical, enchanting, entrancing, spellbinding, magnetic, irresistible, hypnotic
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  • Move, change, or create by or as if by magic.

    ‘he must have been magicked out of the car at the precise second it exploded’
    • ‘And many thanks to Alan for magicking up an ‘Art for Art's Sake’ category in the sidebar (just above the archives), to which I'll add my weekly efforts.’
    • ‘They are pebbles that were magicked into looking like the coppers for three hours.’
    • ‘What was the point of magicking a lock to never yield when you could cast the chest off a cliff or destroy it with an axe?’
    • ‘Anyway, inspired by Albrechtsen yesterday I whipped out my freshly starched apron (unfortunately after, rather than instead of, work) and magicked up a little dinner for my man.’
    • ‘The report simply says that an alternative route will need to be found for buses but it is far from evident how any such alternative route can be magicked up.’
    • ‘And that jet plane, by the way, was magicked in to the past by the very first Merlin.’
    • ‘We rode toward the house, and I helped unload the cart, than magicked the other things into their respective places.’
    • ‘At one time in the beginning of the universe and the beginning of energy, that energy must have been magicked or tricked into being.’
    • ‘Whole posts can be magicked away by a couple of ill-considered key presses - without even taking your hand off the keyboard.’
    • ‘The comment was half intended to shock the creator into realizing the error in this scene and magicking the stranger back into his intended time and place in the great scheme of things.’
    • ‘Four more veggie meals were magicked out of thin air.’
    • ‘Rosette actually magicked them to creak, and she maintained that it gave the house ‘character.’’
    • ‘Witches help mortals, little stuff like giving a blind old lady temporary sight, magicking money to a homeless guy.’
    • ‘The demons that had magicked me here had put some other spell on me, also.’
    • ‘Provisions sorted, we hit the train station, found a seat and magicked up our spread, using the thoughtfully-provided McDonald's bag as a litter bin.’
    • ‘He's undoubtedly got a gift for magicking something emotive out of the most inorganic, mechanical elements, and with the shivery Fireworks, he turns a simple flute loop into a soft, hypnotic lament.’
    • ‘And the £10.59 (goodness knows where you magicked that figure from!) will cover the phone calls and the 4 days service I didn't get.’
    • ‘We all ran upstairs to get our airboards, Black magicking her hair to be shorter so it wouldn't be in the way while she flew.’
    • ‘It was a gift from her past, it was magicked to hold all her belongings without adding weight.’


  • like magic

    • Remarkably effectively or rapidly.

      ‘this method works like magic’
      • ‘For auto makers, generous incentives worked like magic to cut inventories and boost sales.’
      • ‘I wanted to write to you and tell you that I have been getting acupuncture and taking herbs for the past two months, and it has worked like magic.’
      • ‘After I finished reading the ad, I called the phone number posted in the ad and, like magic, a week later I was in Japan.’
      • ‘It was a well-organised and presented three hours, which sped by like magic.’
      • ‘If you wanted the information in Chinese, all you had to do was reply with a ‘C,’ and like magic you had what you needed.’
      • ‘You can drink a cup of strong coffee at the first sign of a migraine, lie down in a dark room, and it'll work like magic.’
      • ‘The bus came like magic as soon as we got to the stop.’
      • ‘The joints are staggered in a brick-like fashion and patted down firmly with the head of a metal rake; a new lawn appears like magic, before your very eyes!’
      • ‘With a leap and a whir, the device made another rapid pre-scan and, just like magic, up popped a set of thumbnails showing what was on the negatives, very nicely rendered.’
      • ‘Another advantage is that when you think positive thoughts, the fear of the unknown often disappears like magic.’


Late Middle English: from Old French magique, from Latin magicus (adjective), late Latin magica (noun), from Greek magikē (tekhnē) (art of) a magus: magi were regarded as magicians.