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"Works like a Charm"

Posted by ESC on December 22, 2001

In Reply to: "Works like a Charm" posted by R. Berg on December 21, 2001

: : I'm trying to find where the phrase "it works like a charm" comes from. Can someone please help me?

: I haven't been able to find anything about the history of this phrase. A charm was originally a magic spell in the form of a chant or verse recited to make something happen. Later the word came to mean an amulet. So "It works like a charm" means "It works like magic." Whether that is a recommendation depends on how effective the speaker believes magic is; but I don't know where or when people first said it. Probably when belief in magic was more common.

I couldn't find an origin or first use.

CHARM - "Latin 'carmen, 'song,' 'verse.' An incantation that is alleged to work magic or a small object (lucky charm) that brings good luck.LIKE A CHARM. Perfectly, wonderfully, as if by a magic charm, as in: 'it worked like a charm.'." From Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable revised by Adrian Room (HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 1999, Sixteenth Edition).