go·lem | \ˈgō-ləm, ˈgȯi-, ˈgā- \

Definition of golem 

1 : an artificial human being in Hebrew folklore endowed with life

2 : something or someone resembling a golem: such as

a : automaton

b : blockhead

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The Evolution of Golem

The Hebrew ancestor of the word golem meant "shapeless mass," and the original golems started as lumps of clay that were formed into figures and brought to life by means of a charm or a combination of letters forming a sacred word. In the Middle Ages, golems were thought to be the perfect servants; their only fault was that they were sometimes too literal or mechanical in fulfilling their masters' orders. In the 16th century, the golem was thought of as a protector of the Jews in times of persecution. But by the late 1800s, golem had acquired a less friendly second sense, referring to a man-made monster that inspired many of the back-from-the-dead creations of classic horror fiction.

Examples of golem in a Sentence

the supervisor was a golem who never had an unprogrammed thought in her life

Recent Examples on the Web

The twist Elsie doesn’t know is, Bernard and his gluey golems trashed the place themselves a while ago. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Westworld and the Question of Immortality," 13 May 2018 Mary, living in the world of Galvanism, industrial and democratic revolution, and the newfound delight in rationalism, was able to give us a golem without resorting to the supernatural. Cory Doctorow, Slate Magazine, "I’ve Created a Monster!," 22 May 2017 Carlson-Wee is a fan of auger, golem, zcash and monero. Lily Katz, Bloomberg.com, "Bitcoin Is at Risk of No Longer Being the Biggest Digital Currency," 31 May 2017 This brings to mind the golem of Jewish folklore, a powerful but simple giant made of mud and clay, brought to life in dangerous times to protect European Jews. Daniel Lee, WSJ, "The Golem of Fifth Avenue," 12 Jan. 2017 His appearance, a gigantic stone golem with catapults built into his shoulders, makes that very clear. Earnest Cavalli, WIRED, "Hands On: Demigod‘s Addictive Strategy Gameplay Apes Warcraft," 19 Mar. 2009

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'golem.' 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 golem

1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for golem

Yiddish goylem, from Hebrew gōlem shapeless mass

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Dictionary Entries near golem


gold yellow






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Time Traveler for golem

The first known use of golem was in 1897

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More from Merriam-Webster on golem

See words that rhyme with golem

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for golem

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about golem

Comments on golem

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a state of commotion or excitement

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