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Magic bullet a medicine or other remedy with wonderful or highly specific properties, especially one that has not yet been discovered. Recorded from the mid 20th century, the term may come from German Zauberkugel, attributed to Paul Ehrlich (1854–1915), German medical scientist, in connection with his search for a cure for syphilis.German folklore includes a number of stories in which magic bullets of supernatural accuracy play a prominent role. The best-known is the legend of a marksman or ‘freeshooter’ who makes a pact with the powers of evil to obtain bullets which will go wherever he chooses; the story forms the basis for the opera Die Freischütz (1821) by Carl Maria von Weber (1784–1824).

magic carpet especially in stories set in Arabia, a mythical carpet that is able to transport people through the air.

magic circle an inner group of politicians viewed as choosing the leader of the Conservative Party before this became an electoral matter. The phrase was coined by Iain Macleod in a critical article in the Spectator of 17 January 1964 on the ‘emergence’ of Alec Douglas-Home in succession to Harold Macmillan in 1963.

magic realism a literary or artistic genre in which realistic narrative and naturalistic technique are combined with surreal elements of dream or fantasy.

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