An early system on the Midac computer.

[Listed in CACM 2(5):16 (May 1959)].

(01 Jan 1995)

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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.

(01 Jun 2001)

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A comprehensive name for all of the pretended arts which claim to produce effects by the assistance of supernatural beings, or departed spirits, or by a mastery of secret forces in nature attained by a study of occult science, including enchantment, conjuration, witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, incantation, etc. "An appearance made by some magic." (Chaucer) Celestial magic, a supposed supernatural power which gave to spirits a kind of dominion over the planets, and to the planets an influence over men. Natural magic, the art of employing the powers of nature to produce effects apparently supernatural. Superstitious, or Geotic, magic, the invocation of devils or demons, involving the supposition of some tacit or express agreement between them and human beings.

Synonyms: Sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy, conjuration, enchantment.

Origin: OE. Magique, L. Magice, Gr. (sc), fr. See Magic, and Magi.

(01 Mar 1998)

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