This word has a strangely metamorphosed meaning. The Latin præstig'iæ means juggling tricks, hence prestidigitateur' (French), one who juggles with his fingers. We use the word for that favourable impression which results from good antecedents. The history of the change is this: Juggling tricks were once considered a sort of enchantment; to enchant is to charm, and to charm is to win the heart.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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