noun to·tem \ˈtō-təm\

: something (such as an animal or plant) that is the symbol for a family, tribe, etc., especially among Native Americans

: a usually carved or painted figure that represents such a symbol

: a person or thing that represents an idea

Full Definition of TOTEM

a :  an object (as an animal or plant) serving as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry; also :  a usually carved or painted representation of such an object
b :  a family or clan identified by a common totemic object
:  one that serves as an emblem or revered symbol

Examples of TOTEM

  1. Private jets are a totem of success among extremely wealthy people.
  2. <the bald eagle, that universally recognized totem of our country>

Origin of TOTEM

Ojibwa oto·te·man his totem
First Known Use: circa 1776

Other Heraldry Terms

blazon, cachet, couchant, dormant, escutcheon, potent, standard

Rhymes with TOTEM

TOTEM Defined for Kids


noun to·tem \ˈtō-təm\

Definition of TOTEM for Kids

:  an object (as an animal or plant) serving as the emblem of a family or clan
:  a carving or picture representing such an object


Next Word in the Dictionary: totemicPrevious Word in the Dictionary: tote doubleAll Words Near: totem
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