medicine man


Definition of medicine man

: a person especially among American Indian groups who is believed to possess supernatural powers that can heal illnesses and keep away evil spirits : shaman

Examples of medicine man in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Edwards learned from his father, a medicine man, how to treat illnesses by tapping into the power of rattlesnakes. Smithsonian Magazine, "The Case of the Autographed Corpse," 19 Nov. 2020 Her mother’s maternal grandfather was a medicine man who performed healing ceremonies up until his 104th year. Oscar Schwartz, Washington Post, "A growing number of scientists believe that the cure for disease can be found in our DNA. But that poses a unique problem for some Native Americans.," 23 Nov. 2020 The artist in this context was the medicine man and the person needing healing would sit in the sand art upon completion. Roger Catlin, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Bonds of Fatherhood Across Time and Culture," 18 June 2020 After his time in the Marine Corps, Vandever became a Navajo medicine man. Shondiin Silversmith, azcentral, "Navajo Code Talker Joe Vandever Sr. dies at 96," 31 Jan. 2020 Families asked medicine men to sing Protection Way songs before the season, chants through night until dawn cracked open the sky. Michael Powell, New York Times, "A Season on the Rez," 6 Dec. 2019 After a trip to the hospital brought no relief, her father took her to a medicine man. Los Angeles Times, "On a vast reservation, female Navajo officers patrol with bulletproof vests and protective amulets," 13 Aug. 2019 Maddon is known for gimmicks — concocting themed-attire trips, bringing in musicians and DJs, inviting a medicine man and setting up a zoo, among a long list of stunts — that allowed his players to feel at ease while also being pushed to succeed. Maria Torres, Los Angeles Times, "Former Angels remember Joe Maddon as being adept at getting most out of players," 17 Oct. 2019 Kaydahzinne, the medicine man, says White Man’s science is good for many purposes, but cannot fathom the spirit world., "Amid winding mountain roads, a village pushes back its encroaching fire threat," 23 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'medicine man.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of medicine man

1801, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about medicine man

Time Traveler for medicine man

Time Traveler

The first known use of medicine man was in 1801

See more words from the same year

Statistics for medicine man

Cite this Entry

“Medicine man.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for medicine man

medicine man


English Language Learners Definition of medicine man

: a person in Native American cultures who is believed to have magic powers that can cure illnesses and keep away evil spirits

medicine man


Kids Definition of medicine man

: a person especially among American Indian groups believed to have magic powers to cure illnesses and keep away evil spirits

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on medicine man

What made you want to look up medicine man? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!