1. 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

Nearby terms:

maggotboxMAGICmagicmagic bulletmagic cookiemagic number

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