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work like a charm

Meaning: If something works like a charm, it works very well.

For example:

  • I tried adding coconut milk to the curry as you suggested, and it worked like a charm. It was really delicious.

  • If you feel stressed, lie on the floor and imagine you're on a tropical beach listening to the waves lapping on the shore. It works like a charm for me.

Origin: Probably related to the fact that one of the meanings of the word "charm" is "magic spell", so if something "works like a charm" it works as well as magic. Whether magic actually works or not appears to have no bearing on the meaning of the idiom, with the assumption being that charms do, in fact, work very well.

Quick Quiz:

That new stain remover I got yesterday worked like a charm. The black ink stain on my shirt
  1. turned a light gray colour
  2. became much bigger
  3. disappeared altogether

Discuss: work like a charm

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