mes·​mer·​ism | \ ˈmez-mə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce mesmerism (audio) also ˈmes- \

Definition of mesmerism

1 : hypnotic induction held to involve animal magnetism broadly : hypnotism
2 : hypnotic appeal

Other Words from mesmerism

mesmerist \ ˈmez-​mə-​rist How to pronounce mesmerism (audio) also  ˈmes-​ \ noun

Synonyms for mesmerism


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Examples of mesmerism in a Sentence

made a living at mesmerism and the selling of medical remedies of dubious value
Recent Examples on the Web In the eighteenth century, Franz Mesmer introduced his concept of mesmerism, or animal magnetism, involving a universal vital fluid that passes in and out through our pores. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, 1 Nov. 2021 This project, followed by work on similar lists, familiarized the young writer with alchemical treatises, Hermetic philosophy, Rosicrucian thought, and the major studies of mesmerism and witchcraft. Michael Dirda, The New York Review of Books, 28 May 2020 This mesmerism quiets my mind via an onslaught of repetition. New York Times, 26 May 2021 Another new, if poorly understood, psychological concept—mesmerism—informs another of his most haunting works. Colin Dickey, The New Republic, 21 July 2021 My ritual for self-mesmerism has grown more elaborate over the years. New York Times, 26 May 2021 Not unlike today, people turned to quack cures for relief, including water therapy and mesmerism, which involved hypnotism and the use of magnets. Ann Levin, USA TODAY, 18 Jan. 2021 There has been almost a national mesmerism, or fixation. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 28 Oct. 2020 Scientist, entrepreneur, and statesman Benjamin Franklin chaired a 1784 French Royal Commission investigating mesmerism, a precursor of hypnosis. Ralph Benko, Fortune, 27 Sep. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of mesmerism

1784, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mesmerism

F. A. Mesmer

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The first known use of mesmerism was in 1784

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Cite this Entry

“Mesmerism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for mesmerism


mes·​mer·​ism | \ ˈmez-mə-ˌriz-əm also ˈmes- \

Medical Definition of mesmerism

: hypnotic induction by the practices of F. A. Mesmer that was believed to involve animal magnetism broadly : hypnotism

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