Definition of magic number in English:

magic number


  • 1A figure regarded as significant in a particular context.

    • ‘One man from Dublin, who wished to remain anonymous, instantly knew he had the ticket with the magic numbers 4, 6, 18, 31, 39, 42.’
    • ‘The magic number of electoral votes needed to win the White House is 270.’
    • ‘Computer scientists have suggested that the usual calculation of the magic number is too simple.’
    • ‘If there's three people dissenting from the other nine, whether it's guilty or not guilty, that's usually the magic number.’
    • ‘In the Scotch whisky business, the winners are known as the ‘millionaires’, brands which sell more than the magic number of one million nine-litre cases a year.’
    • ‘In baseball, the magic number for a team in first place in a division is the number of games that team must win or the second place team must lose in order to clinch the division.’
    • ‘Wallace figured the magic number was about 40,000 responses.’
    • ‘The standard for household surveys is to use 30 clusters of 30 houses each (30 is a magic number in statistics).’
    • ‘First: there's no natural coalition that can hit the magic number of 155 seats (156 if you exclude the Speaker).’
    • ‘In addition, venture firms all have a different magic number for how much capital they would like to deploy into each of their portfolio companies.’
    • ‘Pupils from the college came together to make the magic number for our snapper as they try to break the Guinness Book of Records for numbers at a table quiz.’
    • ‘There were three of us - which proved to be our magic number because the waiter promptly ushered us downstairs to a coveted table.’
    • ‘We are looking to hit the magic number of 218 in order to get a discharge petition going, which would allow that to be automatically voted for on the House of Representatives, bypassing the committee structure requirements.’
    • ‘‘Eighteen holes isn't a magic number for the average golfer,’ notes Orender.’
    • ‘A popular Killarney-based website has clocked up the magic number of one million visitors and an estimated 25 million hits since its launch in 1995.’
    • ‘Quebec government rules dictate that candidates who reach that magic number are refunded for half of their campaign expenses.’
    • ‘Within half-an-hour, I had worked out that 21 was the magic number and if my cards added up to more than that, I would be bust.’
    • ‘The organization recently spent over $1 million on another costing-out study for New York City's schools that would at last find the magic number.’
    • ‘Seven is not really a magic number, but does have an uncanny way of appearing in all sorts of odd situations.’
    • ‘The planning application to Hyndburn Council to build another stand would take the club's capacity from 5,057 to 6,000-the Football League's magic number.’
    1. 1.1Baseball The number which, at a given stage in the season, signifies the combination of wins for the first-placed team and defeats for the second-placed team which will assure the former of finishing the season in first place in its division.
      ‘Boston's magic number remained two as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays last night’
      • ‘Thanks to Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera, each pitching in both ends of the game, the Yanks nailed down the 5-4 win and moved their magic number to one.’
      • ‘Before April began, the Lakers had clinched home-court advantage over every team except the Blazers, and their magic number over Portland was down to three.’
      • ‘Chicago's lead in the AL Central dropped to two games over idle Cleveland and its magic number remained at five to clinch the division.’
      • ‘The Cardinals have won only three of eight, but reduced their magic number for clinching the division to four.’
      • ‘With eight straight wins under their belt, they woke up this Sunday having opened a 5.5 game lead on the Sox, and their magic number for winning the AL East is down to 10.’