How Well Do You Know English Slang?
late 14c., "art of influencing events and producing marvels using hidden natural forces," from Old French magique "magic, magical," from Late Latin magice "sorcery, magic," from Greek magike (presumably with tekhne "art"), fem. of magikos "magical," from magos "one of the members of the learned and priestly class," from Old Persian magush, possibly from PIE *magh- (1) "to be able, to have power" (see machine). Transferred sense of "legerdemain, optical illusion, etc." is from 1811. Displaced Old English wiccecræft (see witch); also drycræft, from dry "magician," from Irish drui "priest, magician" (see druid).
late 14c., from Old French magique, from Latin magicus "magic, magical," from Greek magikos, from magike (see magic (n.)). Magic carpet first attested 1816. Magic Marker (1951) is a registered trademark (U.S.) by Speedry Products, Inc., Richmond Hill, N.Y. Magic lantern "optical instrument whereby a magnified image is thrown upon a wall or screen" is 1690s, from Modern Latin laterna magica.
1906, from magic (n.).
1. As yet unexplained, or too complicated to explain; compare automagically and (Arthur C.) Clarke's Third Law:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
"TTY echoing is controlled by a large number of magic bits." "This routine magically computes the parity of an 8-bit byte in three instructions."
2. Characteristic of something that works although no one really understands why (this is especially called black magic).
3. (Stanford) A feature not generally publicised that allows something otherwise impossible or a feature formerly in that category but now unveiled.
Compare wizardly, deep magic, heavy wizardry.
For more about hackish "magic" see Magic Switch Story.
4. magic number.
The Jews seem early to have consulted the teraphim (q.v.) for oracular answers (Judg. 18:5, 6; Zech. 10:2). There is a remarkable illustration of this divining by teraphim in Ezek. 21:19-22. We read also of the divining cup of Joseph (Gen. 44:5). The magicians of Egypt are frequently referred to in the history of the Exodus. Magic was an inherent part of the ancient Egyptian religion, and entered largely into their daily life. All magical arts were distinctly prohibited under penalty of death in the Mosaic law. The Jews were commanded not to learn the "abomination" of the people of the Promised Land (Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:9-14). The history of Saul's consulting the witch of Endor (1 Sam. 28:3-20) gives no warrant for attributing supernatural power to magicians. From the first the witch is here only a bystander. The practice of magic lingered among the people till after the Captivity, when they gradually abandoned it. It is not much referred to in the New Testament. The Magi mentioned in Matt. 2:1-12 were not magicians in the ordinary sense of the word. They belonged to a religious caste, the followers of Zoroaster, the astrologers of the East. Simon, a magician, was found by Philip at Samaria (Acts 8:9-24); and Paul and Barnabas encountered Elymas, a Jewish sorcerer, at Paphos (13:6-12). At Ephesus there was a great destruction of magical books (Acts 19:18, 19).