Is it Magic; or is it Magick?

I think the latter is the correct way, even though the latter version is listed in some dictionaries. Why is that?

  • ImageMagick is a product name. – mplungjan Dec 26 '13 at 5:45
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    There is a series of books that spells it Magick to distinguish between the occult and simple stage magic. Here it's the author prerogative to use any spelling he chooses. – Jim Dec 26 '13 at 7:04
  • The Urban Dictionary has an entry for magick that explains the variant rather well. In future questions, you'll want to do some of your own research, and incorporate your findings into the question. The Stack Exchange isn't designed to be the first place to go to ask a question – not until you've done some pretty thorough investigating yourself, and you find yourself still stumped. Even then, generally speaking, when you tell us what you've researched and why you're still stumped, your question is likely to be appreciated even more. – J.R. Dec 26 '13 at 9:11
  • meta: Some knowledgeable people here evidently differ in their opinions. Is this GR? If so, is Magick an orthographic monster? If not, is DougM's answer the one (also, Heisenberg, Jim)? What about the down votes then? (Will they be retracted?) – Kris Dec 26 '13 at 14:35

Magic, as in a general supernatural or supernatural-seeming force such as that occasionally claimed by illusionists and is popular in fantasy literature, is spelled without the K.

Magick, with a K, is an intentional variant that specifically refers to ritual prayers as practiced by various neo-pagan religions. While some of these persons sincerely believe their prayers are equivalent to the supernatural abilities of fairy-tale witches, the spelling is an intentional deviation to separate the practice from slight-of-hand and illusion.


Arguably, the word 'Magick' was first associated with the medieval occultist, Heinreich Cornelius Agrippa. However, it was popularized in the 20th century by the infamous British occultist, Aleister Crowlely, who defined it as "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will".

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    Heinreich Cornelius Agrippa did not speak or write in anything close to modern English with its normalized spelling, FWIW. – DougM Dec 26 '13 at 18:24
  • Of course he didn't speak or write modernized English (he was a 15th Century figure), but he did use the word Magick in his 'De Occulta Philosophia' tetralogy. However, it wasn't until the 20th century that Crowley institutionalized the word with his esoteric cult, Thelema. – Heisenberg Dec 26 '13 at 18:40
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    The question is about spelling; I'm sure we can find plenty of instances of the variant spellings "magic", "magik", "magick", and so forth if we examine foreign languages and pre-standard English. – DougM Dec 26 '13 at 18:46
  • You may be correct, but I cannot comment on that as I haven't examined the etymology of the word outside the esoteric world. – Heisenberg Dec 27 '13 at 5:39
  • @Heisenberg, the spelling "magick" appears in the 1651 English translation of "De Occulta Philosophia" by "J.F.". In the latin original the corresponding word is "magia". – A. Donda Sep 4 '15 at 14:58

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