animism

noun

an·​i·​mism ˈa-nə-ˌmi-zəm How to pronounce animism (audio)
1
: a doctrine that the vital principle of organic development is immaterial spirit
2
: attribution of conscious life to objects in and phenomena of nature or to inanimate objects
3
: belief in the existence of spirits separable from bodies
animist noun
animistic adjective

Examples of animism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her work draws on talismans of animism and Christianity, suggesting the way those traditions overlapped and intermingled in Africa. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 7 July 2023 Though imagining our devices as some unknowable other may begin to take on the tone of new-age animism, it’s reflected in the work of writers like Kate Darling, who’ve argued that thinking of robots as animals might enable a more productive relationship with them. WIRED, 6 Nov. 2022 The author, 29 years old at the time, had been living with Indigenous Even people in a remote area of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and studying their belief system, including animism — that is, the belief that all things, living and non-living, have spirits and agency. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Feb. 2022 Guadalupe was founded by Pascua Yaqui Indians who were forced from their homelands in Sonora, Mexico, and settled in the Salt River Valley in the early 1900s, bringing with them their unique religion — a blend of spiritual animism and Catholic beliefs picked up from Jesuit missionaries. Megan Molteni, STAT, 17 June 2021 It’s based on my father’s writing about his life; about colonization, animism, immigration, and his mother who was a Yoruba priest and dancer. Liam Freeman, Vogue, 31 July 2021 Before science, the flash of lighting that followed a crack of thunder was the will of Greek gods or a violent outcropping of animism. Kyle Hill, Discover Magazine, 2 July 2013 Borck argues that neuroscience has something in common with animism, the religious belief that spirits inhabit various objects. Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 16 June 2016 Her early figurative paintings amalgamate her biography with the rise of socialism, depicting Karl Marx, Chilean folk singer and social activist Violeta Parra, Andean popular art, animism, and Indigeneity. Natasha Gural, Forbes, 12 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'animism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

German Animismus, from Latin anima soul

First Known Use

1832, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of animism was in 1832

Dictionary Entries Near animism

Cite this Entry

“Animism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/animism. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition

animism

noun
an·​i·​mism ˈan-ə-ˌmiz-əm How to pronounce animism (audio)
1
: a doctrine that the vital principle of organic development is immaterial spirit
2
: attribution of conscious life to nature or natural objects
animist noun
animistic adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on animism

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