noun \ˈshä-mən, ˈshā- also shə-ˈmän\

: someone who is believed in some cultures to be able to use magic to cure people who are sick, to control future events, etc.

plural shamans

Full Definition of SHAMAN

:  a priest or priestess who uses magic for the purpose of curing the sick, divining the hidden, and controlling events
:  one who resembles a shaman; especially :  high priest 3
sha·man·ic \shə-ˈma-nik, -ˈmä-\ adjective

Origin of SHAMAN

ultimately from Evenki (Tungusic language of Siberia) šamān
First Known Use: 1698

Other Religion (Eastern and Other) Terms

Zen, antinomian, avatar, gnosticism, illuminati, ineffable, karma, koan, mantra

Rhymes with SHAMAN


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Person who uses magic to cure the sick, divine the unknown, or control events. Both men and women can be shamans. Shamanism is classically associated with certain Arctic and Central Asian peoples, but today the term is applied to analogous religious and quasi-religious systems throughout the world. As medicine man and priest, the shaman cures illnesses, directs communal sacrifices, and escorts the souls of the dead to the other world. He operates by using techniques of ecstasy, the power to leave his body at will during a trancelike state. In cultures where shamanism occurs, sickness is usually thought of as soul loss; it is thus the shaman's task to enter the spirit world, capture the soul, and reintegrate it in the body. A person becomes a shaman either by inheritance or by self-election. See also animism.


Next Word in the Dictionary: shamanism
Previous Word in the Dictionary: shama millet
All Words Near: shaman

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up shaman? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).