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Science vs Magic - What's the difference?

science | magic |

In transitive terms the difference between science and magic

is that science is to cause to become versed in science; to make skilled; to instruct while magic is to produce, transform (something), (as if) by magic.

As an adjective magic is

having supernatural talents, properties or qualities attributed to magic.

As a proper noun Magic is

the decrypted Japanese messages produced by US cryptographers in and prior to World War II.


Etymology 1

From (etyl) science, from (etyl) .


  • (countable) A particular discipline or branch of learning, especially one dealing with measurable or systematic principles rather than intuition or natural ability.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-03, volume=408, issue=8847, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= Boundary problems , passage=Economics is a messy discipline: too fluid to be a science , too rigorous to be an art. Perhaps it is fitting that economists’ most-used metric, gross domestic product (GDP), is a tangle too. GDP measures the total value of output in an economic territory. Its apparent simplicity explains why it is scrutinised down to tenths of a percentage point every month.}}
  • (uncountable, archaic) Knowledge gained through study or practice; mastery of a particular discipline or area.
  • * , III.i:
  • For by his mightie Science he had seene / The secret vertue of that weapon keene [...].
  • * Hammond
  • If we conceive God's or science', before the creation, to be extended to all and every part of the world, seeing everything as it is, his ' science or sight from all eternity lays no necessity on anything to come to pass.
  • * (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
  • Shakespeare's deep and accurate science in mental philosophy
  • * 1611 , (King James Version of the Bible), 6:20-21
  • O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding vain and profane babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
  • (uncountable) The collective discipline of study or learning acquired through the scientific method; the sum of knowledge gained from such methods and discipline.
  • * 1951 January 1, (Albert Einstein), letter to Maurice Solovine, as published in Letters to Solovine (1993)
  • I have found no better expression than "religious" for confidence in the rational nature of realityWhenever this feeling is absent, science degenerates into uninspired empiricism.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2012-01, author=Philip E. Mirowski, volume=100, issue=1, page=87, magazine=(American Scientist)
  • , title= Harms to Health from the Pursuit of Profits , passage=In an era when political leaders promise deliverance from decline through America’s purported preeminence in scientific research, the news that science is in deep trouble in the United States has been as unwelcome as a diagnosis of leukemia following the loss of health insurance.}}
  • (uncountable) Knowledge derived from scientific disciplines, scientific method, or any systematic effort.
  • *
  • (uncountable) The scientific community.
  • *
  • Coordinate terms
    * art
    Derived terms
    * applied science * behavioral science * blind with science * computer science * dismal science * down to a science * earth science * exact science * fundamental science * hard science * information science * library science * life science * marine science * natural science * pseudoscience * pure science * science fiction * scientific * scientifically * scientist * social science * soft science * superscience * agriscience * antiscience * archival science * Bachelor of Science * bionanoscience * bioscience * cognitive science * computer science * computer-science * crank science * creation science * cyberscience * dismal science * down to a science * earth science * environmental science * ethnoscience * forensic science * formal science * geographic information science * geoscience * geroscience * glycoscience * hard science * Hollywood science * information science * junk science * Letters and Science * library and information science * library science * life science * Master of Science * McScience * multiscience * nanoscience * natural science * neuroscience * nonscience * non-science * omniscience * palaeoscience * philosophy of science * photoscience * physical science * planetary science * political science * pop-science * popular science * proscience * protoscience * pseudoscience * pseudo-science * rocket science * science centre * science fair * science fiction * science room * scienceless * sciencelike * social science * social-science * soil science * space science * sweet science * systems science * technoscience * unscience
    See also
    * engineering * technology


  • To cause to become versed in science; to make skilled; to instruct.
  • (Francis)

    Etymology 2

    See (scion).



    Alternative forms

    * magick (qualifier) Used as a deliberate archaism; used for supernatural magic, as distinguished from stage magic. * magicke (obsolete) * magique (obsolete)


  • The use of rituals or actions, especially based on supernatural or occult knowledge, to manipulate or obtain information about the natural world, especially when seen as falling outside the realm of religion; also the forces allegedly drawn on for such practices.
  • *c. 1489 , (William Caxton), Foure Sonnes of Aymon :
  • *:And whan he shall be arrayed as I telle you / lete hym thenne doo his incantacyons & his magyke as he wyll […].
  • *1781 , (Edward Gibbon), Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire , II.23:
  • *:The arts of magic and divination were strictly prohibited.
  • *1971 , , Religion and the Decline of Magic , Folio Society 2012, p. 23:
  • *:Conversions to the new religion […] have frequently been assisted by the view of converts that they are acquiring not just a means of otherworldly salvation, but a new and more powerful magic .
  • A specific ritual or procedure associated with supernatural magic or with mysticism; a spell.
  • Something producing remarkable results, especially when not fully understood; an enchanting quality; exceptional skill.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1963, author=(Margery Allingham)
  • , title=(The China Governess) , chapter=1 citation , passage=The original family who had begun to build a palace to rival Nonesuch had died out before they had put up little more than the gateway, so that the actual structure which had come down to posterity retained the secret magic of a promise rather than the overpowering splendour of a great architectural achievement.}}
  • A conjuring trick or illusion performed to give the appearance of supernatural phenomena or powers.
  • Synonyms

    * (allegedly supernatural method to dominate natural forces) dwimmer, thaumaturgy, conjuring, sorcery, witchcraft, dweomercraft/dwimmercraft * (illusion performed to give the appearance of magic or the supernatural) sleight of hand, illusionism, legerdemain, dwimmer


  • Having supernatural talents, properties or qualities attributed to magic.
  • a magic''' wand; a '''magic dragon
  • Producing extraordinary results, as though through the use of magic; wonderful, amazing.
  • a magic moment
  • Pertaining to conjuring tricks or illusions performed for entertainment etc.
  • a magic''' show; a '''magic trick
  • (colloquial) Great; excellent.
  • — I cleaned up the flat while you were out. — Really? Magic !
  • (physics) Describing the number of nucleons in a particularly stable isotopic nucleus; 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, 126, and 184.
  • Synonyms

    * *


  • To produce, transform (something), (as if) by magic.
  • Synonyms

    * (produce magically) conjure up

    Derived terms

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *