black art

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black art (plural black arts)

  1. A practice such as witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, or black magic.
  2. (figuratively, by extension) A process that is mysterious or difficult to master.
    Operating a hand card punch was something of a black art.
    • 2022 November 16, Graham Eccles, “The Rest Day Working saga...”, in RAIL, number 970, page 32:
      Traincrew management has always been a bit of a black art, rather than a science. The present traincrew difficulties that beset the UK rail industry are neither new nor were they unforeseeable.