charm

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: the chanting or reciting of a magic spell : incantation
b
: a practice or expression believed to have magic power
2
: something worn about the person to ward off evil or ensure good fortune : amulet
wore a rabbit's foot as a good-luck charm
3
a
: a trait that fascinates, allures, or delights
the charm of this imaginative story
b
: a physical grace (see grace entry 1 sense 3) or attraction
used in plural
her feminine charms
c
: compelling attractiveness
the island possessed great charm
4
: a small ornament worn on a bracelet or chain
Her sister presented her with a sterling silver charm for her bracelet.
5
: a fundamental quark that has an electric charge of +²/₃ and a measured energy of approximately 1.5 GeV
also : the flavor characterizing this particle
charmless adjective

charm

2 of 2

verb

charmed; charming; charms

transitive verb

1
a
: to affect by or as if by magic : compel
b
: to please, soothe, or delight by compelling attraction
charms customers with his suave manner
2
: to endow with or as if with supernatural powers by means of charms
also : to protect by or as if by spells, charms, or supernatural influences
3
: to control (an animal) typically by charms (such as the playing of music)
charm a snake

intransitive verb

1
: to practice magic and enchantment
witches having the power to charm
2
: to have the effect of a charm : fascinate
The village charms by its quaintness.
charmer noun
Choose the Right Synonym for charm

attract, allure, charm, captivate, fascinate, enchant mean to draw another by exerting a powerful influence.

attract applies to any degree or kind of ability to exert influence over another.

students attracted by the school's locale

allure implies an enticing by what is fair, pleasing, or seductive.

an alluring smile

charm implies the power of casting a spell over the person or thing affected and so compelling a response

charmed by their hospitality

, but it may, like captivate, suggest no more than evoking delight or admiration.

her performances captivated audiences

fascinate suggests a magical influence and tends to stress the ineffectiveness of attempts to resist.

a story that continues to fascinate children

enchant is perhaps the strongest of these terms in stressing the appeal of the agent and the degree of delight evoked in the subject.

hopelessly enchanted by her beauty

Examples of charm in a Sentence

Noun He keeps a horseshoe as a good luck charm. He fell under the spell of her charms. The resort has many charms. The inn has a quaint charm. The island possesses great charm. The new curtains add charm to the room. The seaside location is a big part of the house's charm. He won her over with his charm. Verb The snake was charmed by the music. He was known for his ability to charm voters. He charmed the committee into approving his proposal. I was charmed by the cozy country inn.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
An innovative idea and the power of charm and persuasion will convince others to bet on you. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, 13 June 2024 The quieter charm of Legazpi attracted solo travelers, while Coron and El Baguio were the go-to choices for groups of friends and families. Brianna Kamienski, The Arizona Republic, 12 June 2024
Verb
The Cheel was originally housed in an ornate 130-year-old Queen Anne building, which embodied an Old World charm difficult to recapture with a brand-new build, Bernhard writes. Steven Martinez, Journal Sentinel, 11 June 2024 So, in answer to the person who is charmed by the skilled dirt bike riders, stop the dirt bike riding on city streets and lead a movement to erect a dedicated track, where the drivers can ride without endangering others or harming private property. Reader Commentary, Baltimore Sun, 6 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for charm 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'charm.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English charme "verse used in incantation, magic spell, the power of such a spell, magic," borrowed from Anglo-French, "magic spell" (also continental Old French), going back to Latin carmin-, carmen "ritual utterance, magical chant, spell, song, poem," dissimilated from *can-men-, from canere "to sing, chant" + -men, resultative noun suffix — more at chant entry 1

Note: P. Fouché regards charme as a learned word rather than a direct continuation of *carmine (Phonétique historique du français, vol. 3 [Paris, 1966], p. 828).

Verb

Middle English charmen "to recite or cast a magic spell, cast a spell on," borrowed from Anglo-French charmer, derivative of charme "magic spell, charm entry 1"

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of charm was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near charm

Cite this Entry

“Charm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/charm. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

charm

1 of 2 noun
1
: a word, action, or thing believed to have magic power
2
: something worn to keep away evil and bring good luck
3
: a small ornament worn on a chain or bracelet
4
: a quality that attracts and pleases

charm

2 of 2 verb
1
: to affect or influence by or as if by a magic spell
charm a snake
2
: to protect by or as if by a charm
a charmed life
3
b
: to attract by grace or beauty
charmer noun
Etymology

Noun

Middle English charme "magic word," from early French charme (same meaning), from Latin carmen "song," from canere "to sing" — related to chant, chantey

More from Merriam-Webster on charm

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