magic1. As yet unexplained, or too complicated to explain; compare automagically and (Arthur C.) Clarke's Third Law:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."TTY echoing is controlled by a large number of magic bits." "This routine magically computes the parity of an 8-bit byte in three instructions." 2. Characteristic of something that works although no one really understands why (this is especially called black magic). 3. (Stanford) A feature not generally publicised that allows something otherwise impossible or a feature formerly in that category but now unveiled. Compare wizardly, deep magic, heavy wizardry. For more about hackish "magic" see Magic Switch Story. 4. magic number. [Jargon File]
Last updated: 2001-03-19
maggotbox ♦ MAGIC ♦ magic ♦ magic bullet ♦ magic cookie ♦ magic number
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