cha·​ris·​ma kə-ˈriz-mə How to pronounce charisma (audio)
: 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.
: a special magnetic charm or appeal
the charisma of a popular actor

Did you know?

The Greek word charisma means "favor" or "gift." It comes from the verb charizesthai ("to favor"), which in turn comes from the noun charis, meaning "grace." In English, charisma was originally used in Christian contexts to refer to a gift or power bestowed upon an individual by the Holy Spirit for the good of the Church—a sense that is now very rare. These days, we use the word to refer to social, rather than divine, grace. For instance, a leader with charisma may easily gain popular support, and a job applicant with charisma may shine in an interview.

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 He was allowed to be a stud with eyewear — a far cry from the legendary Christopher Reeve, who used slouching, a comb and oversize spectacles to cover up his Superman’s charisma and charm. David Betancourt, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2023 Part of this is because Roth, known for his ultra-dude charisma and frontman prowess, is a chronically underrated lyricist. Matt Wake |, al, 11 Sep. 2023 When his three older sisters squabbled, Myers was the one who always could diffuse the situation, the baby brother whose humor and charisma and cheerfulness were impossible to resist. Alex Morris, Rolling Stone, 9 Sep. 2023 Canet and Rohrwacher play off each other beautifully, his suave, even louche charisma often upended and disarmed by her directness of gaze and expression. Guy Lodge, Variety, 8 Sep. 2023 Her inclusion on the cover symbolized the emergence of a new era in R&B and pop music, one marked by her immense talent and charisma. Shelby Stewart, Essence, 7 Sep. 2023 His only tools were his irrepressible charm and charisma, his fearlessly reckless ambition, and his king-size cajones. Alexis Jones, Peoplemag, 4 Sep. 2023 And the real Meir has more energy and charisma in the few seconds when she’s shown onscreen than Mirren has in 100 minutes. Odie Henderson,, 24 Aug. 2023 The Cuban singer, known for her belting power and undeniable charisma, began showing off her skills at a young age, winning local radio competitions and dazzling audiences at clubs on the island. Julyssa Lopez, Rolling Stone, 31 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1930, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of charisma was in 1930


Dictionary Entries Near charisma

Cite this Entry

“Charisma.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


cha·​ris·​ma kə-ˈriz-mə How to pronounce charisma (audio)
: a special charm or public appeal

More from Merriam-Webster on charisma

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