early 15c., "conjuring tricks, sleight of hand," from Old French léger de main "quick of hand," literally "light of hand." Léger "light" in weight (Old French legier, 12c.) is from Latin levis "light" (from PIE root *legwh- "not heavy, having little weight"). It is cognate with Spanish ligero, Italian leggiero "light, nimble" (hence also leger line or ledger line in music). Main "hand" is from Latin manus (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand").
It forms all or part of: alleviate; alleviation; alto-rilievo; carnival; elevate; elevation; elevator; leaven; legerdemain; leprechaun; Levant; levator; levee; lever; levity; levy (v.) "to raise or collect;" light (adj.1) "not heavy, having little weight;" lighter (n.1) "type of barge used in unloading;" lung; relevance; relevant; releve; relief; relieve.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit laghuh "quick, small;" Greek elakhys "small," elaphros "light;" Latin levare "to raise," levis "light in weight, not heavy;" Old Church Slavonic liguku, Russian lëgkij, Polish lekki, Lithuanian lengvas "light in weight;" Old Irish lu "small," laigiu "smaller, worse;" Gothic leihts, Old English leoht "not heavy, light in weight."
It forms all or part of: amanuensis; command; commando; commend; countermand; demand; Edmund; emancipate; legerdemain; maintain; manacle; manage; manciple; mandamus; mandate; manege; maneuver; manicure; manifest; manipulation; manner; manque; mansuetude; manual; manubrium; manufacture; manumission; manumit; manure; manuscript; mastiff; Maundy Thursday; mortmain; Raymond; recommend; remand; Sigismund.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Hittite maniiahh- "to distribute, entrust;" Greek mane "hand," Latin manus "hand, strength, power over; armed force; handwriting," mandare "to order, commit to one's charge," literally "to give into one's hand;" Old Norse mund "hand," Old English mund "hand, protection, guardian," German Vormund "guardian;" Old Irish muin "protection, patronage."
late 14c., "one skilled in magic or sorcery," from Old French magiciien "magician, sorcerer," from magique (see magic (n.)). As "practitioner of legerdemain," by 1590s.
From c. 1400 as "deceive, put (someone) under a spell." Especially of tricks of manual dexterity and legerdemain from mid-15c. Figurative use, of careers, husbands, etc., is by 1940. Related: Juggled; juggling.
late 14c., magike, "art of influencing or predicting events and producing marvels using hidden natural forces," also "supernatural art," especially the art of controlling the actions of spiritual or superhuman beings; from Old French magique "magic; magical," from Late Latin magice "sorcery, magic," from Greek magike (presumably with tekhnē "art"), fem. of magikos "magical," from magos "one of the members of the learned and priestly class," from Old Persian magush, which is possibly from PIE root *magh- "to be able, have power."
The transferred sense of "legerdemain, optical illusion, etc." is from 1811. It displaced Old English wiccecræft (see witch); also drycræft, from dry "magician," from Irish drui "priest, magician" (see Druid). Natural magic in the Middle Ages was that which did not involve the agency of personal spirits; it was considered more or less legitimate, not sinful, and involved much that would be explained scientifically as the manipulation of natural forces.