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->''"Let's just say 'polarity torsion does it,' translate that to 'it's very expensive magic,' and leave it at that."''
-->-- '''Liraz''', ''Webcomic/AfterlifeBlues''

This is when a work has an intangible element that is obviously supposed to be magic, but is explicitly not called that. Maybe the word "magic" doesn't exist in their universe, maybe AgentScully is using InsistentTerminology (as maybe [[MagicIsEvil their religion explicitly prohibits "magic"]]) -- yet whatever power they're using lets them [[PowerFloats levitate]], throw {{fireballs}} and [[MagicAndPowers anything else]] that standard-issue {{Fantasy}} magic can do. This trope also applies to works where a practiced mystical art such as [[AlchemyIsMagic alchemy]], [[TarotMotifs tarot cards]] or [[{{Ninja}} ninjutsu]] has been broadened to the point where it functions as all-purpose magic.

In a ScienceFiction setting, MagicFromTechnology and "[[PsychicPowers psionics]]" are favorite stand-bys along with MinovskyPhysics, possibly with a [[SciFiNameBuzzwords "quantum" or "nano"]] tacked on for good measure. If EverythingIsOnline, HollywoodHacking may be utilized as well. SufficientlyAdvancedAliens that have evolved to the point where the physical laws of reality no longer apply to them (such as [[Series/DoctorWho The Doctor]] or [[Franchise/StarTrek Q]]) generally do ''not'' count unless their powers are something PunyHumans can learn. Sometimes, a more limited power may turn into this over time, due to abuse of NewPowersAsThePlotDemands.

See Also SufficientlyAnalyzedMagic when Magic is treated as like a science, and DifferentlyPoweredIndividuals for "Supers by Any Other Name". See also: NotUsingTheZWord, AMechByAnyOtherName, InsistentTerminology, MagicVersusScience, DoingInTheWizard, FlatEarthAtheist.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'': Contractors
* ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'': The Ripple and later, Stands. And then there's the Bow and Arrow, Spin, and the Wall Eyes.
* The Clans in ''Anime/{{K}}'' never refer to their powers as magic. The Slate is an "energy source". Their powers aren't from any standard, they don't all operate the same way, and they're quite easy to lose control of, but "magic" is never used. It's possible that they're trying to avoid the dreamy, inspiring connotations of "magic", since their powers are something frightening, with intense [[SuperpowerMeltdown potential for disaster]]. The Green Clan's more versatile powers (incl. walking through walls) are frequently called a "manipulation ability", a particularly standout example of this.
* ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'': Dying Will Flames, split into multiple variations and applications.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': Ninjutsu. Although ''Naruto's'' techniques are explicitly magical, they have no defined limits and allow NewPowersAsThePlotDemands, a lot of which aren't traditionally associated with ninjas.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'': [[AlchemyIsMagic Alchemy]] is accompanied by flashes of light, [[spoiler:requires {{mana}}]], and can perform actions that look like PlayingWithFire or DishingOutDirt etc but Edward is quick to point out that it is not magic but ''science''. He's [[SufficientlyAnalyzedMagic not entirely wrong]], either, despite later revelations that [[spoiler:certain fundamental assumptions about Amestrian alchemy, including ''EquivalentExchange as they know it,'' are false.]]
* In ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' (and the spinoff, ''Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun''), [[PsychicPowers esper powers]] are basically just [[FunctionalMagic Inherent Gift]] magic under a different name. Really, the only difference between the mages and the espers is that the mages use lots of crutches in the form of magic circles and magic items, while the espers develop SuperIntelligence to [[RequiredSecondaryPower control their powers]] instead. And espers only get one power, while mages can learn multiple ([[ThemeDeck though most don't use more than a few]]).
** The lines between esper abilities and magic are further broken down when it turns out that that the training programme for unlocking esper potential was invented by a mage, based on a ritual intended to give the user traits of angels (and that the so-far theoretical [[ReadingsAreOffTheScale Level 6 espers]] are essentially [[DeityOfHumanOrigin Deities of Human Origin]]). And while ''most'' esper powers are based on a clear scientific concept, such as control over electricity or friction, the Gemstones (espers who unlocked their powers at a young age without training) often have far more abstract powers or ones that seem to do [[ComboPlatterPowers multiple unrelated things]].
** Also played with by protagonist Touma's [[AntiMagic "Imagine Breaker"]] power. Academy City classifies Touma as a very weak esper for the sake of PlausibleDeniability (which even he seems to be fooled by), but he's actually a {{Muggle}} with some kind of CosmicKeystone inside his arm.
* ''Anime/FushigiboshiNoFutagoHime'': The Prominence and the Power of Darkness. Neither are explicitly called magic despite looking just like it. Altezza refers to the former as Fine and Rein's "weird power".

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the Creator/ValiantComics titles set in the 41st Century (''Magnus: Robot Fighter'', ''Rai and the Future Force'' and ''Psi-Lords''), "ectotheric energy" is used by some people to achieve the effect of "magic", even though it is in reality a variation of PsychicPowers and is scientifically comprehensible. "Necromancy" occurs in many titles from the 20th Century, and is even more overtly expressed as a kind of "magic" (obviously, given the name), although it too is really psychic in nature.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Deliberate in the ''VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm'' fanfic ''FanFic/HeroesOfTheDesk''--the [[FunWithAcronyms Strategic Prevention, Extraction, and Ablation Regiment]] calls it "Functional Supernatural Phenomena." And even then, they tend to take the view of SufficientlyAnalyzedMagic and/or invoke ClarksThirdLaw, though it's deliberately left unclear what counts as the former versus the latter.
* Parodied in ''FanFic/NullmetalAlchemist'', where Ed [[InsistentTerminology insists]] on [[AlchemyIsMagic calling alchemy "magic"]], because his mother told him that "alchemy" sounds too pretentious. Played straight by everyone else, though.
* In ''Fanfic/OpeningDangerousGates'', [[Manga/{{Bleach}} Kisuke Urahara]] tells the Manga/FairyTail characters that magic and reiatsu are one and the same. Every one has a reserve of energy in their bodies, but only some people can access it, and it has different effects based on the individual and how they apply it.
* ''FanFic/EscapeFromTheMoon'': Doa’s magic is referred to as “thaumatics”.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': The Force, right down to being split between Light and Dark magic. Slightly different in that [[DoingInTheWizard Obi-Wan initially presents it as "an energy field"]] generated by living beings, the prequels [[VoodooShark claimed it came from micro-organisms in the bloodstream]], and it leans more towards the science fiction-y "telepathy, telekinesis, precognition, illusions" rather than fireballs or summoning or turning into frogs. Unusually, it's more inspired by [[UsefulNotes/{{Taoism}} Daoist magic]] than anything Western.
* In ''Film/TheMatrix'', bending the rules of physics while jacked into the computer world is ostensibly just hacking a program, but tends to be accorded mystical significance. Then Neo starts controlling machines in the real world with his mind alone....
* In the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse, WordOfGod says there is no magic, just new and strange kinds of science. Yeah, even with ''Film/DoctorStrange2016.'' A lot of fans roll their eyes at that.

* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'': The One Power, which is segregated by sex, with males using ''saidin'' and females ''saidar''. Using the Power is called channeling. The BigBad has his own flavor, called the True Power. Then there are miscellaneous bits of OutsideContextMagic floating around, like dudes who can talk to wolves, Ogier Treesinging, Dreamwalking, and Min's aura vision. All of it is clearly magical, but [[NotUsingTheZWord the word "magic" is never used]]; the closest they come is when Aes Sedai (female users of the One Power) are occasionally called "witches" as a pejorative.
* ''Literature/TheSharingKnife'': Ground (Lakewalkers specifically dislike the term magic.)
* Creator/BrandonSanderson's "cosmere" multiverse in general uses this; individual systems of FunctionalMagic are referred to by their names, and the term "magic" hardly ever comes up. The exception is in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'', where one magic system ''is'' called "the Old Magic". In ''Literature/TheAlloyOfLaw'', allomancy is referred to as magic a few times. By contrast, the multiverse's resident MetaGuy, in the appendix of the same book, seems to refer to all forms of magic as "investiture", but exactly what this means is not yet explained.
%%* ''Literature/TheLookingGlassWars'': Imagination.
* ''Literature/TheKingKillerChronicle'': Sympathy, not to be confused with "Naming". If you know the true name of something you can command it, but if you don't then you can find something to represent it and use your willpower to force what happens to this to happen to that. Sympathy is seen as magic by many people in-universe, but people who actually use it insist that it isn't.
%%* Drawing in ''Literature/{{Ewilan}}''
* Played with in the Literature/MediochreQSethSeries. Some people occasionally ''do'' call it magic, but most get quite uppity about the fact that it's [[InsistentTerminology properly called]] '[[{{Whatevermancy}} mancy]]'.
* ''Literature/StrengthAndJustice'' firmly assures that everyone's powers in the books are called "dynas" (short for "dynamism"), but at several points magic circles are said to appear when a dyna is in use, and the history of the city very clearly states that the users are all with an innate magical capability. It's a bit unclear as to what it is exactly.
* ''Literature/{{Runemarks}}'' uses 'glam'. TheGospelOfLoki makes it clear that this is exactly the same as the thing we call magic.
* ''Literature/HallowMass'' No one uses "magic" or casts "spells". Instead, the cultists and the antiquities staff enact various "formulas".
* PlayedWith in ''Literature/LordOfTheRings'': when [[TheReliableOne Sam]] asks [[ThePhilosopherKing Galadriel]] if she's about to use magic, she admits that she's not sure what he means by that term--hobbits use it to describe things that elves do naturally, but also the [[BlackMagic sort of things]] that [[BigBad Sauron]] does, though in her mind they are completely different.
* ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant'' has Earthpower, an ambient quasi-mystical energy of The Land, which some humans can channel to devastating effect. Though the series also has magic (via the Wild Magic of white gold [platinum]). Comparably, Earthpower is fire, wild magic is an atom bomb.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Franchise/StarTrek'', humans are absolutely militant about this. No matter how scientifically-inexplicable something is, or if that something can outright change the laws of physics at will, it is ''still'' not "magic". Referring to it as such will provoke an immediate negative response and denial. {{Technobabble}}, even if it is completely unsupported by evidence, will invariably be accepted as an explanation before "magic" will. Things which would be considered "supernatural" in real life such as PsychicPowers or RealityWarper[=s=] are still regarded as scientific in nature, even though Federation science cannot explain them. Which is why talking about the limitless power of "thought" is acceptable, but using the m-word will get you an earful of [[FlatEarthAtheist Flat Earth Atheism]].
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The Carrionites -- witches who used what the Doctor insisted was not magic, but physics based on words rather than numbers.
** It also has Block Transfer Computations -- complex mathematical equations that were never openly compared to magic, but the most blatant use of them (at least until the novels decided that [=TARDISes=] were made out of them) involved a planet of monastic aliens chanting arcane formulae to reshape reality.
** A funny lampshade (or is it a reference) is made in the Tenth Doctor's episode "The Girl in the Fireplace", where he says that the window they're looking through to XVIII century France is a "spatial-temporal hyperlink".
--->'''Rose:''' What's that mean?\\
'''The Doctor:''' No idea, I just made it up. Didn't want to say "magic door".

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'': The Warp and psionics, but Chaotic practitioners don't shy from calling themselves wizards. As a comparison, in the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' universe -- as befitting fantasy -- the Warp is unashamedly magic.
* ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'':
** ''TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem'': Disciplines
** ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheForsaken'': Gifts
** ''TabletopGame/PrometheanTheCreated'': Transmutations
** ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheLost'': Contracts
** ''TabletopGame/GeistTheSinEaters'': Keys, Manifestations, and Ceremonies
* ''TabletopGame/InNomine'': Songs and Sorcery, one of the rulebooks notes that many of those in the know will [[InsistentTerminology get annoyed]] with anybody calling Songs "magic", and some will also get annoyed about using that term for Sorcery. Also you don't "cast" Songs, you perform them.
* Psionics in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' can fall somewhere in or near this trope depending on the edition and variant rules. The default in arguably the most popular incarnation is "magic/psionics transparency", where spells and psionic powers are identical (i.e. DispelMagic works on psionics and vice versa) and in [[TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms some settings]] psionics is outright referred to as a type of magic. The main difference between the two is that spellcasters work with external energy [[VancianMagic using predefined spells as templates]] (giving them larger numbers of techniques), while psions work with internal energy [[ManaMeter which they shape directly through willpower]] (making their individual techniques more flexible). Earlier editions and mentioned variant rules, however, make psionics fully or partly disconnected from magic (i.e. DispelMagic does ''not'' work on psionics and vice versa), while still having the same magic-like techniques.

[[folder:Video Games]]
%%* ''VideoGame/AnarchyOnline'': Nano Programs
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreed'': Pieces of Eden. The Apple of Eden, the most prominent of these artifacts, can give the user control others' minds and bodies--even making them kill themselves--or allow a DoppelgangerAttack or apparently bringing the dead back to life; when Ezio uses the Apple in ''Brotherhood'', it is CastFromHitPoints. The Shard of Eden deflects bullets, and the Shroud of Eden really ''does'' bring people back to life, [[BodyHorror but not in the best way possible]]. Despite all this, they're really just SufficientlyAdvancedTechnology.
* ''VideoGame/BioShock'': Plasmids. ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'' replaces them with "Vigors." You drink them instead of injecting with a syringe, but other than that they work the same. There's some TechnoBabble [[AllThereInTheManual in the manual]] about a species of sea slug that produces large quantities of stem cells that make [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke genetic engineering]] much easier, but no amount of genetics explains where the {{fireballs}} or [[BeeBeeGun bees]] that fly out of your hand come from.
* ''Franchise/DeadSpace'': The Kinesis and Stasis Modules.
%%* ''VideoGame/{{Earthbound}}'': Psi
* ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'': Psynergy can be harnessed by special humans known as Adepts. These Adepts are further divided into [[DishingOutDirt Venus]] (Earth), [[BlowYouAway Jupiter]] (Wind), [[AnIcePerson Mercury]] (Water), and [[PlayingWithFire Mars]] (Fire) Adepts. Psynergy is used by means of mental will, and can only be [[InvisibleToNormals seen by other Adepts.]] Psynergy can be used against non-Adepts and they will be damaged/affected by it. In addition to combat [[ElementalRockPaperScissors elemental damage]], Psynergy can also bestow certain other abilities, like [[PsychicPowers mind reading]] (Jupiter), [[MindOverMatter (tele)kinesis]] (Venus), and [[SuperNotDrowningSkills waterbreathing for one's self and others]] (Mercury). There are also special Psynergy types used for travel or secret hunting [[MagicEnhancement bound to typically mundane items]]. These range from a simple string of beads to an everlasting icicle. Some of these Psynergy-granting items can only be used by Adepts with the same elemental affinity as the item itself.
%%* ''Videogame/HalfLife1'': The Vortessence
* ''VideoGame/TheLordOfTheRingsOnline'': Rune-Keepers and Lore-Masters, to get around the fact that there are canonically only five wizards in all of Middle-Earth.[[note]]Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast, Alatar and Pallando.[[/note]]
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'': Biotics. It's basically telekinesis and kinetic energy bolts by another name - extremely detailed justifications, but in the end, its still lift spells. All of the advanced technology in the setting works off the same principles.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Onmyoji}} Onmyōji]]'': [[UsefulNotes/{{Onmyodo}} Onmyōdō]], which is already considered Magic by Any Other Name in RealLife.
* ''VideoGame/PhantasyStar'': It's an ostensibly SpaceOpera and PlanetaryRomance, but ESP and "techniques" are functionally magic, with true magic being generally considered to be a rare lost art which only a select few can wield.
* ''VideoGame/SecretOfEvermore'': Had alchemy, in what was essentially a VR simulation.
* ''VideoGame/{{Spore}}'': Any of the archetypes' superpowers qualify.
* ''VideoGame/StarCraft'': Psionics (Complete with glowing hands in the sequel even though it is supposed to be a mental power.)
* ''VideoGame/StarOcean'': Heraldry, Symbology, Runeology, Whateverology... [[spoiler:Justified in-universe as being programming code--the universe is actually an MMORPG, and magic is really just the AI hacking the system, and the eponymous symbols and runes are the game's code.]]
%%* ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'': Fonic Artes
%%* ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'': Valkyrian Flames
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'', ''Videogame/{{Xenosaga}}'', and ''Videogame/{{Xenoblade}}'': Ether. At least in the case of Xenosaga, a lot of this is explicitly stated to be nanobots in the environs being somehow influenced by the characters. The effects are still just like magic.
* ''VideoGame/TheMatrixOnline'': Hacking. Building on the ''Franchise/{{Matrix}}'' films' exploration of MagicFromTechnology, the game introduces an entire character class built around casting spells by hacking into the Matrix's code from within. Every "spell" is accompanied by an explosion of green binary code, just to remind players that it's not ''really'' magic.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Shinobi}}'' series, "ninjutsu" is the name generally used to describe special magical attacks based on fire, lightning, etc.
* ''VideoGame/{{Inindo}}'' has ninjutsu as one of the three types of magic, consisting of ElementalPowers.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''{{WebAnimation/RWBY}}'': Subverted. WordOfGod states that Dust was used in place of magic to intentionally avoid using the word during [[http://youtu.be/D8o4neUbtcc?t=29m48s their RTX panel]]. However, since then, he, and the rest of the staff, have freely described certain characters as "mages". [[spoiler:And as it turns out, there are ''literal'' magic users in this world whose powers are not related to Dust or Aura. And one of them happens to be the BigBad...]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'':
** The Spark. Semi-example. The machines are powered by science, but you have to be born with the mysterious "spark" to make them work, and once you do, you can kind of bend the laws of physics. It's not clear to what extent, though, since the technology is never clearly explained.
** The old stories and legends of the setting's current SteamPunk era include magic-using figures (explicitly as ancestors to the "modern" scientists), hinting that the Spark may indeed be some kind of RealityWarper power which manifests through the individual's understanding of how the world works (i.e. people used to believe in magic, so Sparks did magic, science has replaced that worldview, so Sparks do science).
** Before the main plot kicks off and keeps him busy, the Baron used his (very limited) free time working on a side project where he was actually experimenting on the brains of Sparks (namely those who were too dangerous to let live anyway) to try to determine the origin of the phenomenon.
* Initally, ''Webcomic/TalesOfTheQuestor'' used "Lux" and "magic" indiscriminately. Then they decided to ban the latter term and stop styling themselves “wizards” because [[ClarkesThirdLaw it's only magic to other people]], and those go by the principle most monotheistic religions have that MagicIsEvil.
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'': Ether; [[SufficientlyAnalyzedMagic etheric science]]. A case of insistent terminology by the Court, as opposed to the creatures of the forest.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Unsounded}}'', the world's FunctionalMagic is called "pymary". WordOfGod justifies this, though, saying that the word "magic" implies something mystical and unknown. Pymary may look supernatural to us, but in the world of Unsounded, [[SufficientlyAnalyzedMagic it's an ordinary fact of life]].
* ''Webcomic/TheStoryOfAnima'', [[http://tapastic.com/episode/64773 Anima]] is a mysterious force emitted by all individuals. Its exact nature is unknown; in fact, it's only called Anima because the theory that it's SoulPower is the most popular one. While normally it can only be wielded through the aid of [[{{Megitek}} Catalysts]], some people, known as [[DifferentlyPoweredIndividual Animus]], are capable of harnessing their own Anima into unique super powers.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* At no point in ''Literature/FunnyBusiness'' are Jeannette's RealityWarper powers called magic, even though that's what most people the characters' ages would think to call the ability to ignore the laws of physics at will. They're generically called her "abilities" or "powers" instead.
* The debate between magic-users and scientists in the Literature/WhateleyUniverse whether magic is just "psychic powers" or whether psychics in turn are just this trope keeps going. In the meantime, a new approach called "pattern theory" offers potential insight into where superpowers in the setting come from ''in general'', but is still very much in its embryonic stage as well as apparently [[MindScrew nigh incomprehensible]] to most people.
* [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/Prolecto Prolecto]] has the abilities of angels, demons, and members of certain sects of the Survivalist Project. [[spoiler: Like Kayla.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': Bending. Lampshaded in the very first episode:
-->'''Sokka''': Why is it that every time you play with magic water, I get soaked?\\
'''Katara''': It's not magic, it's waterbending.\\
'''Sokka''': Yeah, yeah, whatever.