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magic

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]

(2001-03-19)

MAGIC

An early system on the Midac computer.

[Listed in CACM 2(5):16 (May 1959)].

[Jargon File]

(1995-01-25)


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