1870, "one who practices voodoo," American English, probably an alteration of voodoo. Meaning "something that causes or brings bad luck" is attested from 1880. As a verb from 1886. By 2002 as a type of non-religious American folk magic.
1910, American English, perhaps an alteration of gimcrack, or an anagram of magic.
In a hotel at Muscatine, Iowa, the other day I twisted the gimmick attached to the radiator, with the intention of having some heat in my Nova Zemblan booth. [Domestic Engineering, Jan. 8, 1910]
c. 1300, nygromauncy, nigromauncie, "sorcery, witchcraft, black magic," properly "divination by communication with the dead," from Old French nigromancie "magic, necromancy, witchcraft, sorcery," from Medieval Latin nigromantia (13c.), from Latin necromantia "divination from an exhumed corpse," from Greek nekromanteia, from nekros "dead body" (from PIE root *nek- (1) "death") + manteia "divination, oracle," from manteuesthai "to prophesy," from mantis "one who divines, a seer, prophet; one touched by divine madness," from mainesthai "be inspired," which is related to menos "passion, spirit" (see mania). The spelling was influenced in Medieval Latin by niger "black," on notion of "black arts;" the modern English spelling is a mid-16c. correction. Related: Necromantic.
c. 1300, "incantation, magic charm," from Old French charme (12c.) "magic charm, magic spell incantation; song, lamentation," from Latin carmen "song, verse, enchantment, religious formula," from canere "to sing" (from PIE root *kan- "to sing"), with dissimilation of -n- to -r- before -m- in intermediate form *canmen (for a similar evolution, see Latin germen "germ," from *genmen). The notion is of chanting or reciting verses of magical power.
A yet stronger power than that of herb or stone lies in the spoken word, and all nations use it both for blessing and cursing. But these, to be effective, must be choice, well knit, rhythmic words (verba concepta), must have lilt and tune; hence all that is strong in the speech wielded by priest, physician, magician, is allied to the forms of poetry. [Jakob Grimm, "Teutonic Mythology" (transl. Stallybrass), 1883]
Sense of "pleasing quality, irresistable power to please and attract" evolved by 17c. From 1590s as "any item worn to avert evil;" meaning "small trinket fastened to a watch-chain, etc." first recorded 1865. Quantum physics sense is from 1964. Charm-bracelet is from 1941; charm-school from 1919. To work like a charm (figuratively) is recorded by 1824.
1830, American English, from Pennsylvania German hexe "to practice witchcraft," from German hexen "to hex," related to Hexe "witch," from Middle High German hecse, hexse, from Old High German hagazussa (see hag). Noun meaning "magic spell" is first recorded 1909; earlier it meant "a witch" (1856). Compare Middle English hexte "the devil" (mid-13c.), perhaps originally "sorcerer," probably from Old English haehtis.
"art or act of enchanting by uttering magical words, with ceremonies supposed to have magical power; the formula of words or the ceremony employed," late 14c., from Old French incantacion "spell, exorcism" (13c.), from Late Latin incantationem (nominative incantatio) "art of enchanting," noun of action from past-participle stem of incantare "to bewitch, charm, cast a spell upon, chant magic over, sing spells" (see enchantment).
Occultism, I should add, is to be distinguished from the primitive magic described by anthropologists, which is prescientific, prephilosophical, and perhaps prereligious, whereas occultism is a pseudo-science or system of pseudo-sciences, often supported by an irrationalist philosophy, and always exploiting the disintegrated débris of preexisting religions. [E.R. Dodds, "The Greeks and the Irrational," 1951, footnote]