go·​lem | \ ˈgō-ləm How to pronounce golem (audio) , ˈgȯi-, ˈgā- How to pronounce golem (audio) \

Definition of golem

1 : an artificial human being in Hebrew folklore endowed with life
2 : something or someone resembling a golem: such as

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Synonyms & Antonyms for golem



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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 When the dust cleared, the golem lay in pieces across the dungeon floor. L.j. Kilgore, Ars Technica, "How to move your role-playing game nights online," 28 June 2020 But given the hitman’s status as a death-dealing golem the Mob occasionally unleashes on its enemies, De Niro’s creaky movement mostly works. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Martin Scorsese’s Epic Funeral for the Gangster Genre," 1 Nov. 2019 One day, golems would turn on Their creators, learn how to build more of their own kind, and use their overwhelming numbers to cleanse the Earth of evil. David Canfield, EW.com, "Read a creepy first excerpt from George A. Romero's posthumous The Living Dead novel," 23 Sep. 2019 So in my story the golem is female, made by women, made by a mother and a teenage girl. Denise Davidson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Author Alice Hoffman tells World War II story in fairy tale form," 20 Oct. 2019 In Jewish folklore, golems are anthropomorphic figures animated by magic, often depicted as large troll-like creatures made from clay or mud. Ferris Jabr, Harper's magazine, "The Story of Storytelling," 10 Mar. 2019 Charlie, as Nan calls the golem, is made of soot, but he might as well be made of pure love. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Pachyderm Parties and a Hue That’ll Make You Cry," 20 Sep. 2018 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

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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Time Traveler for golem

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The first known use of golem was in 1897

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Cite this Entry

“Golem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/golem. Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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