- a power of pleasing or attracting, as through personality or beauty: charm of manner; the charm of a mountain lake.
- a trait or feature imparting this power.
- charms, attractiveness.
- a trinket to be worn on a bracelet, necklace, etc.
- something worn or carried on one’s person for its supposed magical effect; amulet.
- any action supposed to have magical power.
- the chanting or recitation of a magic verse or formula.
- a verse or formula credited with magical power.
- Physics. a quantum number assigned the value +1 for one kind of quark, −1 for its antiquark, and 0 for all other quarks. Symbol: CCompare charmed quark.
verb (used with object)
- to delight or please greatly by beauty, attractiveness, etc.; enchant: She charmed us with her grace.
- to act upon (someone or something) with or as with a compelling or magical force: to charm a bird from a tree.
- to endow with or protect by supernatural powers.
- to gain or influence through personal charm: He charmed a raise out of his boss.
verb (used without object)
- to be fascinating or pleasing.
- to use charms.
- to act as a charm.
- the quality of pleasing, fascinating, or attracting people
- a pleasing or attractive feature
- a small object worn or kept for supposed magical powers of protection; amulet; talisman
- a trinket worn on a bracelet
- a magic spell; enchantment
- a formula or action used in casting such a spell
- physics an internal quantum number of certain elementary particles, used to explain some scattering experiments
- like a charm perfectly; successfully
- to attract or fascinate; delight greatly
- to cast a magic spell on
- to protect, influence, or heal, supposedly by magic
- (tr) to influence or obtain by personal charmhe charmed them into believing him
- Southwest English dialect a loud noise, as of a number of people chattering or of birds singing
c.1300, “to recite or cast a magic spell,” from Old French charmer (13c.) “to enchant, to fill (someone) with desire (for something); to protect, cure, treat; to maltreat, harm,” from Late Latin carminare, from Latin carmen (see charm (n.)). In Old French used alike of magical and non-magical activity. In English, “to win over by treating pleasingly, delight” from mid-15c. Related: Charmed; charming. Charmed (short for I am charmed) as a conventional reply to a greeting or meeting is attested by 1825.
c.1300, “incantation, magic charm,” from Old French charme (12c.) “magic charm, magic, spell; incantation, song, lamentation,” from Latin carmen “song, verse, enchantment, religious formula,” from canere “to sing” (see chant (v.)), with dissimilation of -n- to -r- before -m- in intermediate form *canmen (for a similar evolution, see Latin germen “germ,” from *genmen). The notion is of chanting or reciting verses of magical power.
A yet stronger power than that of herb or stone lies in the spoken word, and all nations use it both for blessing and cursing. But these, to be effective, must be choice, well knit, rhythmic words (verba concepta), must have lilt and tune; hence all that is strong in the speech wielded by priest, physician, magician, is allied to the forms of poetry. [Jacob Grimm, “Teutonic Mythology” (transl. Stallybrass), 1883]
Sense of “pleasing quality” evolved 17c. Meaning “small trinket fastened to a watch-chain, etc.” first recorded 1865. Quantum physics sense is from 1964. To work like a charm (figuratively) is recorded by 1824.
- One of the flavors of quarks, contributing to the charm number-a quantum number-for hadrons.
- A charmed particle is a particle that contains at least one charmed quark or charmed antiquark. The charmed quark was hypothesized to account for the longevity of the J/psi particle and to explain differences in the behavior of leptons and hadrons. See more at flavor.
In addition to the idioms beginning with charm
- charmed life
- charm the pants off
- (charm the) pants off
- work like a charm