magic |ˈmajik|


the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces: do you believe in magic? | suddenly, as if by magic, the doors start to open.

• mysterious tricks, such as making things disappear and appear again, performed as entertainment.

Melrose, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Daughter of mulatto family returning home after fishing in the Cane River.

• a quality that makes something seem removed from everyday life, esp. in a way that gives delight: the magic of the theater.

• informal something that has such a quality: their seaside town is pure magic.


1 used in magic or working by magic; having or apparently having supernatural powers: a magic wand.

• [ attrib. ] very effective in producing results, esp. desired ones: confidence is the magic ingredient needed to spark recovery.

2 informal wonderful; exciting: what a magic moment.

verb ( magics, magicking , magicked ) [ with obj. ]

move, change, or create by or as if by magic: he must have been magicked out of the car at the precise second it exploded.

Mestiza, Mulatto and Mulatto, ca. 1715Image Ownership: Public Domain

Mestiza, Mulatto and Mulatto, ca. 1715
Image Ownership: Public Domain

mulatto |m(y)o͝oˈlätō, -ˈlatō| dated

noun ( pl. mulattoes or mulattos )

a person of mixed white and black ancestry, esp. a person with one white and one black parent.

ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from Spanish mulato, from Arabic muwallad person of mixed race.


race 2 |rās|


each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics: people of all races, colors, and creeds.

• a group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc.; an ethnic group: we Scots were a bloodthirsty race then.

• the fact or condition of belonging to such a division or group; the qualities or characteristics associated with this: people of mixed race.

• a group or set of people or things with a common feature or features: some male firefighters still regarded women as a race apart.

• Biology a population within a species that is distinct in some way, esp. a subspecies: people have killed so many tigers that two races are probably extinct.

A Mulatto Woman with her White Daughter Visited by Negro Women in their House in Martinique, Le Masurier, 1775, Public Domian

A Mulatto Woman with her White Daughter Visited by Negro Women in their House in Martinique, Le Masurier, 1775, Public Domian

• (in nontechnical use) each of the major divisions of living creatures: a member of the human race | the race of birds.

• literary a group of people descended from a common ancestor: a prince of the race of Solomon.

• archaic ancestry: two coursers of ethereal race.

Although ideas of race are centuries old, it was not until the 19th century that attempts to systematize racial divisions were made. Ideas of supposed racial superiority and social Darwinism reached their culmination in Nazi ideology of the 1930s and gave pseudoscientific justification to policies and attitudes of discrimination, exploitation, slavery, and extermination. Theories of race asserting a link between racial type and intelligence are now discredited. Scientifically it is accepted as obvious that there are subdivisions of the human species, but it is also clear that genetic variation between individuals of the same race can be as great as that between members of different races.

ORIGIN early 16th cent. (denoting a group with common features): via French from Italian razza, of unknown ultimate origin.

usage: In recent years, the associations of race with the ideologies and theories that grew out of the work of 19th-century anthropologists and physiologists has led to the word race itself becoming problematic. Although still used in general contexts ( race relations, racial equality), it is now often replaced by other words that are less emotionally charged, such as people(s) or community.


talk |tôk|


conversation; discussion: there was a slight but noticeable lull in the talk.

• a period of conversation or discussion, esp. a relatively serious one: my mother had a talk with Louis.

• an informal address or lecture.

• rumor, gossip, or speculation: there is talk of an armistice.

• empty promises or boasting: he’s all talk.

• (the talk of) a current subject of widespread gossip or speculation in (a particular place): within days I was the talk of the town.

• (talks) formal discussions or negotiations over a period: peace talks.

definitions from the New Oxford American Dictionary