cha·​ris·​ma | \ kə-ˈriz-mə \

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

With her charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent Mama Ru became the first true crossover cross-dressing artist and helped to spread the gospel of gay throughout the entire Runiverse. Muri Assunção, Billboard, "8 RuPaul Songs for Your Pride Month Playlist: Listen," 19 June 2018 The elder Biden is known for plain—and sometimes tough—talk, as well as a good measure of personal charisma. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Who’s In and Who’s Out of the 2020 Presidential Race—So Far," 3 Jan. 2019 As the conductor of the Simón Bolivár Youth Symphony Orchestra, El Sistema’s flagship ensemble, he was known for performances of buoyant, joyous vigor, and also for his enviable charisma. Fergus Mcintosh, The New Yorker, "L.A. Phil’s Superstar Conductor Returns to New York," 21 Apr. 2018 Page after page reveals interiors that practically vibrate with charisma, while others wax a poetic minimalism that, despite a lack of things, overwhelm with grace. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "In Her New Book, Wendy Goodman Asks May I Come In? Thankfully, a Lot of People Said Yes," 4 Oct. 2018 These moving parts might've obscured a singer with less natural charisma than Swift. Mikael Wood,, "Taylor Swift is a willing warrior in pop stardom's celebrity death match," 9 May 2018 The sunny assortment of men’s and women’s wardrobe essentials invests a seemingly straightforward approach with charisma. Lauren Ingram, WSJ, "This New Fashion Site is Elevating the Everlane Look," 26 Apr. 2018 Working in the tradition of Dr. Benjamin Spock, another hugely popular advice-dispensing pediatrician, Dr. Brazelton combined rigorous science with personal charisma to become one of America’s most visible and celebrated child-care experts. Joseph P. Kahn,, "Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, child care expert and pediatrician; at 99," 13 Mar. 2018 And part of charisma is that people tend to judge you generously. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The Beto O’Rourke 2020 buzz, explained," 20 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for charisma

Last Updated

3 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for charisma

The first known use of charisma was in 1930

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