cha·​ris·​ma | \ kə-ˈriz-mə How to pronounce charisma (audio) \

Definition of charisma

1 : a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure (such as a political leader) His success was largely due to his charisma.
2 : a special magnetic charm or appeal the charisma of a popular actor

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Did You Know?

The Greek word charisma means "favor" or "gift." In English, it has been used in Christian contexts since about 1640 to refer to a gift or power bestowed upon an individual by the Holy Spirit for the good of the Church. (This sense is now very rare.) The earliest nonreligious use of "charisma" that we know of occurred in a German text, a 1922 publication by sociologist Max Weber. The sense began appearing in English contexts shortly after Weber’s work was published.

Examples of charisma in a Sentence

The candidate was lacking in charisma. His success is largely due to his charisma.

Recent Examples on the Web

An uneasy alliance between the two and Mitsubishi of Japan was held together by the Napoleonic Mr Ghosn’s charisma. The Economist, "Nissan loses another leader to financial impropriety," 12 Sep. 2019 Regardless, the series works due to Ramos’s leading-man charisma. Luis Miguel Echegaray,, "Sergio Ramos Shows Off Another Side in His Amazon Docuseries," 11 Sep. 2019 Lionel Richie is the sort of guy with enough personality, charisma and talent that not even an exploding sky above can upstage him. Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "Not even a premature fireworks display can stop Lionel Richie from lighting up the Grandstand," 30 Aug. 2019 Sony may have had a few rounds of practice with Queens’ most famous teenage photographer, but even Holland’s Michael J. Fox-style charisma doesn’t change the fact Peter Parker has long entered been-there, done-that territory. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Spider-Man Swings Back to Sony—Unraveling the Universe," 22 Aug. 2019 In a sign of true partnership, Mälkki seemed almost to constrain herself during Skride’s solo sections; Skride would then finish a section triumphantly, as if passing a figurative baton back to Mälkki, who would explode with energy and charisma. Maya Chung, The New York Review of Books, "When Women Take the Baton," 26 Mar. 2019 Conway’s charisma lies in his desire to share his incurable lust for learning, to spread the contagion and the romance. Quanta Magazine, "A Life in Games," 28 Aug. 2015 Mugabe lacked the easy charisma of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and contemporary who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 after reconciling with its former white rulers. Farai Mutsaka And Christopher Torchia, USA TODAY, "Robert Mugabe, longtime Zimbabwe leader, dies at 95," 6 Sep. 2019 Mugabe lacked the easy charisma of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and contemporary who became South Africa's first black president in 1994 after reconciling with its former white rulers. Author: Farai Mutsaka, Christopher Torchia, Anchorage Daily News, "Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean revolutionary who helped liberate and destroy his country, dies at 95," 6 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'charisma.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of charisma

1930, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for charisma

Greek, favor, gift, from charizesthai to favor, from charis grace; akin to Greek chairein to rejoice — more at yearn

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for charisma

The first known use of charisma was in 1930

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