c. 1200, "skilled magicians, astrologers," from Latin magi, plural of magus "magician, learned magician," from Greek magos, a word used for the Persian learned and priestly class as portrayed in the Bible (said by ancient historians to have been originally the name of a Median tribe), from Old Persian magush "magician" (see magic). Also, in Christian history, the "wise men" who, according to Matthew, came from the east to Jerusalem to do homage to the newborn Christ (late 14c.). Related: Magian.
"magician, enchanter," c. 1400, Englished form of Latin magus "magician, learned magician," from Greek magos, a word used for the Persian learned and priestly class as portrayed in the Bible (said by ancient historians to have been originally the name of a Median tribe), from Old Persian magush "magician" (see magic and compare magi). An "archaic" word by late 19c. (OED), revived by fantasy games.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be able, have power." It forms all or part of: dismay; deus ex machina; may (v.1) "am able;" might (n.) "bodily strength, power;" main; machine; mechanic; mechanism; mechano-; mage; magi; magic.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit mahan "great;" Greek mēkhanē "device, means," mekhos, makhos "means, instrument;" Old Church Slavonic mošti, Russian moč' "can, be able;" Old English mæg "I can," Gothic mag "can, is able," Old High German magan, Old Norse magn "power, might."
Middle English maue, from Old English maga "stomach" (of men and animals, including fish and birds; in Modern English only of animals unless insultingly of humans), from Proto-Germanic *magan- "bag, stomach" (source also of Old Frisian maga, Old Norse magi, Danish mave, Middle Dutch maghe, Dutch maag, Old High German mago, German Magen "stomach"), from PIE *mak- "leather bag" (source also of Welsh megin "bellows," Lithuanian makas, Old Church Slavonic mošina "bag, pouch"). Meaning "throat, gullet" is from late 14c. Metaphoric of voracity from late 14c.
1630s, "of or befitting to a master or teacher or one qualified to speak with authority," from Medieval Latin magisterialis "of or pertaining to the office of magistrate, director, or teacher," from Late Latin magisterius "having authority of a magistrate," from magister "chief, director" (see master (n.)).
By 17c. often with a suggestion of "arrogant, imperious, domineering." Meaning "holding the office of a magistrate, proper to a magistrate" is from 1650s (see magistrate). Related: Magisterially.
"of or pertaining to magic; working or produced by enchantment; having supernatural qualities or powers," late 14c., from Old French magique, from Latin magicus "magic, magical," from Greek magikos, from magike (see magic (n.)). Magic carpet, a legendary carpet which would transport a person wherever he wished to go, is attested by 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 (1670s).
1570s, "forming part of the accepted course of teaching," a sense now obsolete, from Latin magistralis "of a master," from magister "chief, director" (see master (n.)). Meaning "authoritative; of, pertaining to, or befitting a master" is from c. 1600. In pharmacy, of a remedy, etc., "devised by a physician for a particular case, prepared for the occasion" (c. 1600).