The property, quality, or state, of being magnetic; the manifestation of the force in nature which is seen in a magnet.

2. The science which treats of magnetic phenomena.

3. Power of attraction; power to excite the feelings and to gain the affections. "By the magnetism of interest our affections are irresistibly attracted." Animal magnetism, a force, more or less analogous to magnetism, which, it has been alleged, is produced in animal tissues, and passes from one body to another with or without actual contact. The existence of such a force, and its potentiality for the cure of disease, were asserted by Mesmer in 1775. His theories and methods were afterwards called mesmerism, a name which has been popularly applied to theories and claims not put forward by Mesmer himself. See Mesmerism, Biology, Od, Hypnotism. Terrestrial magnetism, the magnetic force exerted by the earth, and recognised by its effect upon magnetized needles and bars.

Origin: Cf. F. Magnetisme.

(01 Mar 1998)

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