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 Not a player who makes a big splash and then vanishes into obscurity, but someone who captures the world’s imagination and perseveres on talent, charisma and track record. Bruce Jenkins,, "Hopes for 2021? Warriors fans at Chase, Jimmy G returns, and the WNBA comes to the Bay," 1 Jan. 2021 Latrobe is best known as the birthplace of golfer Arnold Palmer, whose charisma and aggressive style of play drew thousands to the sport during the 1950s and 1960s. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Trump to rally in battleground Pennsylvania as polls show race with Biden tightening," 3 Sep. 2020 Your partner likely has the charisma and diplomacy to deal with all contingencies. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Dec. 19, 2020: Leo, harmless fun passes the time; Scorpio, be productive at home," 19 Dec. 2020 But physical charisma can be more challenging to replicate online—creating a potentially different pecking order. Ray A. Smith, WSJ, "Do You Have E-Charisma on Zoom? Here’s How to Get It," 29 Nov. 2020 But that can be awkward for some players, especially young ones without much experience or those who don’t have that easy charisma to smooth over tough conversations. Megan Ryan, Star Tribune, "After making noise in '19, Gophers defense is less sound in 2020," 6 Nov. 2020 Tagovailoa has charisma that could captivate South Florida sports fans just like Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade, and former Dolphins star quarterback and Hall of Famer Dan Marino have in the region for the past 37 years. Safid Deen,, "Dolphins want Tua Tagovailoa to be himself following arduous journey to his first career start vs. Rams," 31 Oct. 2020 Diesel's Fast frenemy Dwayne Johnson is a member of the Five-Timers Club, and yes, Johnson has maybe a slightly more traditional charisma, but who doesn't love a lovable weirdo getting a chance on that legendary stage? Derek Lawrence,, "It's time for Vin Diesel to finally host Saturday Night Live — and be the musical guest," 14 Oct. 2020 If the show makes the most of Serratos’s charisma and glow, episodes emphasize the day-to-day grind of gigging musicians: rehearsing, traveling, performing for crowds small and large, humping gear back to the bus. New York Times, "‘Selena: The Series,’ Dreaming of Her," 4 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for charisma

Time Traveler

The first known use of charisma was in 1930

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Charisma.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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