Definition of charm in English:



  • 1mass noun The power or quality of delighting, attracting, or fascinating others.

    ‘his charm has captivated the media’
    • ‘I'm fascinated by this character trait known as charm or charisma.’
    • ‘This London hit show took America by storm, full of charm, humour and delightful songs that make it a perfect theatrical event for the entire family.’
    • ‘But they still retain a kind of charm, which attracts camera-toting tourists round the clock.’
    • ‘Craig's qualities of charm and decency have been allied with just enough success to keep the fans happy.’
    • ‘It was full of delight and exuberance and charm.’
    • ‘Pierre Trudeau, whose charm and charisma captivated a nation, is now 80.’
    • ‘Repetition gives the closing lines qualities of charm and chant, their long vowel sounds making for a soothing and ultimately devastating quiet.’
    • ‘Your charm will attract the attention of the opposite sex.’
    • ‘She recounts in detail her nervousness around him, her supposedly dangerous fascination with his charm.’
    • ‘Members of the opposite sex will be attracted by your charm.’
    • ‘He was a prolific letter writer of great charm and quality, and many of his observations on literature are scattered throughout the letters.’
    • ‘His witty banter and social charm made him delightful company; he was small in stature and his voice was vigorous and pleasant.’
    • ‘Their songs have a certain elegant charm and a quality of innocence that's genuinely disarming.’
    • ‘In her maiden film, ‘Roman Holiday’, she projected youthful charm and exuberance.’
    • ‘These early sitcom-style moments contain much of the humour and charm that really draws us into the world of these characters.’
    • ‘James Fitzgerald, Geoffrey Coles and Morgan Lee James aim to delight their audience with infectious warmth, humour and charm.’
    • ‘It intrigued him to see that there was one girl out there who wasn't attracted to his charm.’
    • ‘It has that magical charm of youthful curiosity mixed with dark deadpan humour.’
    • ‘It is a Victorian house of great charm and character.’
    • ‘It's old, comfy, has bags of charm and character, but we were alarmed recently to hear it was up for sale and was probably going to be converted into a house.’
    attractiveness, beauty, glamour, prettiness, loveliness
    appeal, pull, draw, drawing power, attraction, allure, fascination, captivation, pleasingness, delightfulness
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    1. 1.1usually charmscount noun An attractive or alluring characteristic or feature.
      ‘the hidden charms of the city’
      • ‘But Winnipeg's a great prairie city, with hidden charms.’
      • ‘It was in January 1997 that the newspaper noticed her charms and featured her in a photo shoot.’
      • ‘Judge Brett Cullum thinks this oft-reviled David Lynch feature definitely has its charms, if you know how to approach it.’
      • ‘Jim remarks on Lena's sleepy eyes, her attractive features and figure, and her seductive charms.’
      • ‘Staff at the 17th century Treasurer's House in the shadow of York Minster are appealing for volunteers to help to uncover its hidden charms for thousands of visitors.’
      • ‘The discovery was made during the restoration work at the Red Fort thus unveiling the hidden charms of the 17th century architectural marvel.’
      • ‘Our twenty-mile ride was the proof of an unknown Netherlands, and of the country's hidden charms.’
      • ‘But for the savvy traveler who has been there, done that, Tokyo offers hidden charms to rejuvenate the heart and relieve the soles.’
      • ‘And no, my weakness was not in easily succumbing to her girlish charms.’
      • ‘He was often unable to resist her girlish charms and detested the thought of making the poor child work more than she should.’
      • ‘Encountering unexpected and unreasonable resistance to her charms, Hepburn's character quickly grasps that drastic measures are required.’
      • ‘Lately, Julian's charms attract permanent residents, who hope to preserve the surrounding area's bucolic ambience.’
      • ‘The cottage's charms have attracted many fans and helpers.’
      • ‘He is immediately fascinated by him and disappointed when Dean is attracted by the charms of his other friends.’
      • ‘Its strange proportions and unique charms attracted me as no other structure ever had.’
      • ‘For me, one of the principal charms of New York City is that it is home to some of the greatest jazz figures in history, who are commemorated with plaques, signs or street names in neighbourhoods where they lived.’
      • ‘He loves the lifestyle in Norwich, where passion for football does not detract from the city's rural charms.’
      • ‘He now knows why Ole Benson took such an interest in Lena; he is attracted to Lena's beauty and charms.’
      • ‘He was willing to give it a year; before six months were up they had made friends, refocused their eyes to the discreet charms of the New Town and had decided to stay.’
      • ‘It's not just Australians who have switched on to the charms of this charismatic comedian.’
      attractiveness, beauty, glamour, prettiness, loveliness
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  • 2A small ornament worn on a necklace or bracelet.

    ‘the trinkets were charms from his wife's bracelet’
    • ‘Rearranging my charms, necklace and bracelet I make sure I look presentable to a street gang.’
    • ‘Any trinkets, charms, or ornaments expected of a 17-year-old girl to have in her room would never appear in my mine, because I simply did not own any.’
    • ‘She held up a variety of decorative necklaces and charms.’
    • ‘She also wore a fine silver chain, with a Queen of Hearts card on it, for a necklace, and a bracelet with two dice charms.’
    • ‘It was during the late Victorian period that gold charms worn on bracelets were considered suitable gifts on St Valentine's Day.’
    • ‘At one point I was caught up in the loop attached to my skirt and one of the charms of the bracelet.’
    • ‘Laura Bailey, Bay Garnett and Elle Macpherson are fans, and Gwyneth Paltrow commissioned a necklace for herself and a bracelet featuring an apple charm for her daughter.’
    • ‘I felt the charm on my necklace pressing coldly onto my chest.’
    • ‘Around his neck was a necklace with a charm in the shape of an ‘X’ in a circle.’
    • ‘She smiled then and held the charm of my necklace in her hand.’
    • ‘It's a gold necklace with a gold charm shaped like an ice skate, with a cross of blue topaz and diamonds embedded into the skate.’
    • ‘She pulled nervously at her necklace, the charm swinging back and forth.’
    • ‘I debated on an accessory, finally deciding on a silver chain necklace with a small charm of a glass slipper on the end.’
    • ‘It was a jewellery case and she opened it up to find a tiny gold necklace with a unique charm on it; the symbol of the Trinity.’
    • ‘She let out a little laugh and he watched the charm of her choker necklace shake.’
    • ‘Then I noticed Ameila was looking at the necklace charms.’
    • ‘Around her neck and from each ear hung a little Santa Claus and a bracelet held charms of snowmen, reindeer, and candy canes.’
    • ‘Nadia looked at the silver bracelet with small charms connected around it.’
    • ‘The main charm on each necklace is a leaf; the others are gems, feather shapes, and beads.’
    • ‘Queen Victoria gets the credit for popularizing jewelry charms throughout Europe by wearing lockets or charms on her royal bracelets.’
    ornament, trinket, bauble
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  • 3An object, act, or saying believed to have magic power.

    ‘the charm begins with ritual instructions’
    • ‘Was it a prayer, a magic spell, a charm, or a prediction?’
    • ‘It is a place that is full of spells and curses, where powerful charms work their magic, and everything is witchcraft and wizardry.’
    • ‘Not since his first sale of a magic charm was he so concerned over the opinion of his work.’
    • ‘Do fortune-tellers openly diagnose ailments and sell magic charms to the naïve?’
    • ‘Vision, as Frye suggests, effects a recognition of the power that prevails over charms.’
    • ‘No one has vanished since that day, but how long the power of the charm will last I cannot say.’
    • ‘One of their methods was to attach magic charms to people's clothing.’
    • ‘In its external forms it resembles Western schools of ritual magic which make use of magic circles, pentagrams, spells, and charms.’
    • ‘What the public wants, says Shaw, is ‘a cheap magic charm to prevent, and a cheap pill or potion to cure all diseases.’’
    • ‘In order to appease the wandering spirits they believed roamed at night, the Celtic priests made fires in which they burned sacrifices, made charms, and cast spells.’
    • ‘Galician folklore includes many charms and rituals related to the different stages and events of the life cycle.’
    • ‘She totes around a spell book and spends her meagre allowance on bells and mirrors to help her spells and charms.’
    • ‘There exist a myriad of spells, amulets, talismans and lucky charms in various cultures.’
    • ‘We can exercise our own intuition to create the meaningful tools, charms, symbols and rituals for ourselves.’
    • ‘Rituals, prayers, and charms are used by folk healers only as additional elements of healing.’
    • ‘This old volume was full of ancient secrets of magical healing, useful incantations and protective charms.’
    • ‘Then there are those who prey on the weak or the greedy, promising to alter the future, cast good luck charms, prophecy only good things etc.’
    • ‘Anyway, the charm was meant to bring true happiness and I'm sure a gloomy cold person like Ian would need some of that.’
    • ‘The emulsion slowly dissolves and finally the solution is swallowed - a charm against evil.’
    • ‘The priests follow basic Christian doctrine but also use prophecy, healing, and charms to ward off witchcraft.’
    spell, incantation, conjuration, rune, magic formula, magic word, abracadabra, jinx
    talisman, fetish, amulet, mascot, totem, idol, juju
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    1. 3.1An object kept or worn to ward off evil and bring good luck.
      ‘a good luck charm’
      • ‘This charm brings me luck wherever I go for fairies enchanted it.’
      • ‘Letters, cards, all sorts of miraculous medals and good luck charms have all been winging their way there in recent years.’
      • ‘After just a fortnight at home, I'd already sold the clothes on my back for a few precious bowls of luck charms.’
      • ‘The pieces of jewellery serve as good luck charms for their wearers.’
      • ‘An example would be believing that, as one passed one's driving test soon after buying a good luck charm, the charm must have caused one to pass the test.’
      • ‘Antlers hang like good luck charms over cabin doors.’
      • ‘He keeps these good luck charms with him during his operation.’
      • ‘If the proposed casino is approved I will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to sell good luck charms.’
      • ‘They would sprinkle salt, hang garlic, and attach good luck charms all around the home.’
      • ‘The crystals were of varying sizes and shapes, often bought as charms, or luck tokens.’
      • ‘On the paper were a few Japanese characters which she knew to be on most common good luck charms.’
      • ‘Some of them have lids and sides decorated with fruits, vegetables, dolls and figures denoting good luck charms.’
      • ‘The first is a Taiwanese charm that can ward off evil.’
      • ‘On the day of the battle, each cousin brought a lucky charm and each prayed to Venus.’
      • ‘In the Middle Ages the onion was used as a charm against evil spirits, the plague and infection.’
      • ‘Koreans have traditionally used special drawings called pujok as charms in and around their houses to bring them luck and ward off evil.’
      • ‘A war correspondent carries into every war zone a selection of lucky charms which he believes keep him safe.’
      • ‘Huck and Joe go back in the water for another swim, but Tom declines, because he has lost his string of rattlesnake rattles, his magic charm against cramps.’
      • ‘In the Middle Ages it was regarded as a charm against witchcraft.’
      • ‘Secondary relics might be privately owned, and were believed to have power as protective charms.’
      talisman, fetish, amulet, mascot, totem, idol, juju
      View synonyms
  • 4Physics
    mass noun One of six flavours of quark.

    • ‘The charm quark stays effectively at rest inside the baryon because it is much more massive than the up, down and strange quarks.’
    • ‘Similar fun is had in other fields of science, as for instance by physicists who have named a class of elementary particles quarks, of which charm is one of the flavors.’
    • ‘These include the charm and top quarks, which are heavy copies of the up quark, and the strange and bottom quarks, which are heavy copies of the down quark.’
    • ‘At this energy level, two more quarks, the strange and charm quarks, exist.’
    • ‘Not just another ad hoc addition to the company of quarks, the charm quark did so many things in a simple, economical package.’


[with object]
  • 1Delight greatly.

    ‘the books have charmed children the world over’
    • ‘But I also could not help but be charmed by the book as a whole.’
    • ‘Again, each child was welcomed by a smiling elf who brought them to the cubicle where a warm, friendly Santa tried every trick in the book to charm my youngster.’
    • ‘Her neighbors are equally charmed by the handsome garden that reflects the area's easygoing lifestyle.’
    • ‘I think she could have absolutely charmed that jury, totally and completely.’
    • ‘For a second day running Muhammad Ali arrived early, made a beeline for the athletes and posed for photographs much to the delight of the sportsmen and women who were charmed by the legendary boxer.’
    • ‘People have been delighted by the response to their films, charmed by the courtesy and enthusiasm of the festival staff.’
    • ‘Universally denounced by critics, the director's tale of two teenagers in love in the Camargue charmed and delighted untold thousands.’
    • ‘I find it hard not to be charmed by such a style, and in a book like this it is more than usually welcome.’
    • ‘Their pop sensibility, spangly make-up and subversiveness bemused, charmed and totally won me over.’
    • ‘On his way to the range for some post-round practice, Woods signs more autographs, stops for a brief talk with a group of fans waiting to meet him, and generally charms everyone he sees.’
    • ‘This subtle blend of colour (by a master colourist) only charms the senses and begs to be pondered, assimilated and admired.’
    • ‘Yet he charms the public with chats and autographs.’
    • ‘She effortlessly charms the pair of them, wanting to know all about their children, their relationships and their work.’
    • ‘When you see him taking visiting dignitaries round, he charms them.’
    • ‘His profiles of animals will charm you and transform your vision of them forever.’
    • ‘‘People are usually charmed by it,’ says McCrone.’
    • ‘‘People seem quite charmed by the idea of turning travel into something playful,’ says its Melbourne-based author, Rachael Antony.’
    • ‘The drummer of the band, Matthew, was a dirty blonde with a crooked smile that charmed most people he met.’
    • ‘The beautiful lakeside towns of Lago di Garda have charmed people for centuries.’
    • ‘Face to face with the piquant personality that had charmed de Gaulle, he was charmed as well.’
    delight, please, win, win over, appeal to, attract, captivate, allure, lure, draw, dazzle, fascinate, bewitch, beguile, enchant, enthral, enrapture, enamour, seduce, ravish, hypnotize, mesmerize, spellbind, transfix, rivet, grip
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    1. 1.1Use one's ability to please and attract in order to influence (someone)
      ‘you're not going to charm me into changing my mind’
      • ‘Of all the US surrogate candidates and vice-presidential hopefuls, none can touch his ability to charm voters.’
      • ‘Duke's ability to charm us really comes from the single irony he generates.’
      • ‘I don't want you to try to charm me or beguile me or do whatever it is you normally do to have your wicked way with women.’
      • ‘Local doctor, Michael Loftus described them as a remarkable couple, beautiful people, who would charm anyone.’
      • ‘I understand that the wonderful Alice is away charming the people of Crete.’
      • ‘He charmed people with his sweetness, humour and loyalty.’
      • ‘Julius was a con man who loved the thrill of spying and was able to charm people into following him, but he also had a cruel streak.’
      • ‘So I do charm him, I want him to find me attractive and to like me, and he wants me to like him.’
      • ‘Although not as polished as the two professional actors flanking her, Jann Arden charmed the audience from the outset by letting her personality shine through her performance.’
      • ‘He charmed the man, whom many thought was going to conduct an investigation that would lead to the President's impeachment.’
      • ‘Sears charmed the audience with her magnetic personality and shared the motivation behind her chosen career path.’
      • ‘But Bush, he really does go out there and he charms us.’
      • ‘Actually, Schumer charms me by laying his cards on the table.’
      • ‘Through the years one thing has remained the same: Dave Douglas charms his audiences.’
      • ‘Socrates was married, but he seemed to spend his time charming the handsome male youths of Athens.’
      • ‘Saif Ali Khan is an actor who has both cajoled and charmed moviegoers into accepting a different kind of hero.’
      • ‘He charms his way into stardom with his infectious laughter and a casual sense of humour.’
      • ‘She has such a likeable presence, that when she sings she charms her way into your heart.’
      • ‘He didn't want to embarrass Ashley by blaming anything on her, so he just figured he'd charm his way out of it.’
      coax, cajole, wheedle
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  • 2Control or achieve by or as if by magic.

    ‘a gesticulating figure endeavouring to charm a cobra’
    with adverbial ‘she will charm your warts away’
    • ‘They then moved the fork whilst in the ground, which apparently charms the worms to the surface when the fork is removed.’
    • ‘He had laughed, he had charmed me, almost bewitched me.’
    • ‘Search where you will, you will not see one who can charm a snake like me.’
    • ‘If the serpent bites, the person who knows how to charm a snake is no better off than one who doesn't.’


    work like a charm
    • Be completely successful or effective.

      ‘the new sales approach worked like a charm’
      • ‘The more public approach seems to have worked like a charm.’
      • ‘His voice never raised above a moderate level, yet his approach worked like a charm.’
      • ‘But it works like a charm within the current range of tax rates.’
      • ‘We see this in his other films, and it works like a charm.’
      • ‘It's a great feature that works like a charm, and is an option that every owner should consider.’
      • ‘It has a bold design, with real aesthetic integrity, and works like a charm.’
      • ‘I went about it with military precision, having long lists of everything that needed to be done at what time, and it worked like a charm.’
      • ‘The action worked like a charm and the very next day the contractor phoned to capitulate.’
      • ‘Only very occasionally does all this not work like a charm.’
      • ‘It doesn't smell like anything, but works like a charm.’
    turn on the charm
    • Use one's ability to please in a calculated way so as to influence someone or to obtain something.

      ‘before I could turn on the charm, they hung up’
      • ‘Come on, I know all about my big brother's ability to turn on the charm when he wants to.’
      • ‘He relaxes, and he comes alive - he turns on the charm.’
      • ‘But this isn't a man who turns on the charm at the hint of a camera flash or the whirr of a journalist's Dictaphone.’
      • ‘Christian was really turning on the charm, telling her she should meet some of his director friends and paying her endless cheesy compliments.’
      • ‘But he doesn't believe in turning on the charm for interviewers.’
      • ‘Yet, for all his protestations and refusal to talk to James, actions speak louder than words, and yesterday the Englishman had turned over a new leaf and turned on the charm.’
      • ‘He's super polite and knows when to turn on the charm.’
      • ‘And before I could turn on the charm, they hung up.’
      • ‘After a slickly co-ordinated annual meeting which saw Rose and his equally debonair chairman Paul Myners turn on the charm, Green realised that he was on to a loser.’
      • ‘Everyone turns on the charm when it's time to say goodbye.’


Middle English (in the senses ‘incantation or magic spell’ and ‘to use spells’): from Old French charme (noun), charmer (verb), from Latin carmen ‘song, verse, incantation’.