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

While distinct strains of Gruppe DNA run through the Urus, Lambo’s team exercised full authority over the elements of charisma, the look and touch of the thing. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 Lamborghini Urus: An SUV for the One Percent," 15 June 2018 His steady expansion of power over 15 years is a sign of the importance of charisma, staying power and, most importantly, improvisation in a volatile and sharply divided region. Thanassis Cambanis,, "How did Iraq’s Moqtada al-Sadr become a statesman? People just got used to him," 26 May 2018 Trump swept to power as an experienced entertainer using his natural charisma to sell a radical message that some, at least, would have been unlikely to buy from someone less skilled. Mikael Wood,, "In today's divisive political climate pop artists are shaping the new sound of protest music," 29 June 2018 With charisma like his, that should be an easy job to do. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Graduate with Down syndrome steals the show by jumping across stage in excitement," 12 June 2018 Set aside, for now, his crotchety-great-uncle charisma, and the idea that Mr Sanders is a major force rests on two myths. The Economist, "Berned out," 7 June 2018 His natural charisma and openness had fallen prey to anxiety and self-isolation. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, "A plan to help veterans from 'the first minute' they leave the service," 27 June 2018 Huber suggests Rupp's relative lack of popularity within the running community stems from media inaccessibility, a deficit of charisma and for being part of the Nike Oregon Project, which some believe pushes the boundaries of the rules. Ken Goe,, "Nobody likes the Oregon Project's Galen Rupp? Says who? Oregon track & field rundown," 18 May 2018 Even her off-screen promotion of the show was noteworthy, giving off major star charisma., "This Is Keri Russell's Time To Shine — Welcome To The Russell-ution, Comrades," 13 July 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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Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for charisma

The first known use of charisma was in 1930

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to teach someone the beliefs of a group

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