Etymology
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magic (n.)
Origin and meaning of magic

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.

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magic (adj.)
Origin and meaning of magic

"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).

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magic (v.)

"transform, produce, effect, etc. as if by magic," 1864, from magic (n.). Related: Magicked; magicking.

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magician (n.)

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.

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magical (adj.)

1550s, "of or pertaining to magic;" c. 1600, "resembling magic in action or effect," from magic (n.) + -al (1). Related: Magically. The difference between magic (adj.) and magical is largely poetic, depending on the rhythm.

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mage (n.)

"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.

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magi (n.)

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.

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gramary (n.)
early 14c., gramarye, "grammar," also "learning, erudition," hence "magic, enchantment" (late 15c.), a variant of grammar; perhaps from Old French gramare, gramaire "grammar," also "book of conjuring or magic" (hence Modern French grimaire "gibberish, incomprehensible nonsense"). Gramarye was revived by Scott ("Lay of the Last Minstrel," 1805) in the "dark magic" sense.
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enchantment (n.)

c. 1300, enchauntement, "act of magic or witchcraft; use of magic; magic power," from Old French encantement "magical spell; song, concert, chorus," from enchanter "bewitch, charm," from Latin incantare "enchant, cast a (magic) spell upon," from in- "upon, into" (from PIE root *en "in") + cantare "to sing" (from PIE root *kan- "to sing"). Figurative sense of "allurement" is from 1670s. Compare Old English galdor "song," also "spell, enchantment," from galan "to sing," which also is the source of the second element in nightingale.

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theurgy (n.)
1560s, "white magic," from Late Latin theurgia, from Late Greek theourgia "a divine work, a miracle, magic, sorcery," from theos (genitive theou) "a god" (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts) + -ergos "working" (from PIE root *werg- "to do"). From 1858 as "the working of divine forces in human affairs." Related: Theurgical.
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