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

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 What elected Donald Trump, and what sustains him, is not his rather dubious charisma, his ideas, his obvious jolt to the country’s earlier slow economic growth, and no, not even the wretched campaign run by Hillary Clinton. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "Americans Turned to Trump to Roll Back the Progressive Tide," 19 Nov. 2018 For such players, The Mind is simply a dull game devoid of charisma. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "The Mind: Most polarizing card game of the year?," 4 Aug. 2018 Cohen is not unaware of the effect of a loud jacket and a bold accessory, both of which project confidence and charisma. Samuel Hine, GQ, "The MAGA Men Who Love Ultra-High-End Italian Suiting," 8 May 2018 But Alckmin lacks charisma and his poll numbers have been in the single digits. Sarah Dilorenzo, Fox News, "A look at the leading candidates for Brazil's presidency," 21 Aug. 2018 But Alckmin lacks charisma and his poll numbers have been in the single digits. Sarah Dilorenzo, The Seattle Times, "A look at the leading candidates for Brazil’s presidency," 20 Aug. 2018 Johnson’s natural charisma and million-dollar smile may be effortless, but the guy has certainly worked his ass off to obtain his big-enough-to-run-for-office career—and his next-level physique. Tyler Watamanuk, GQ, "The Rock's New Signature Sneaker Won't Get You Swole—But It Definitely Can't Hurt," 28 May 2018 Saturday’s elections saw Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi opposed by other Shiite leaders who eclipsed him in charisma and popularity. Washington Post, "At Iraq’s polls, voters seek patronage and jobs," 13 May 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

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for charisma

The first known use of charisma was in 1930

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