mes·​mer·​ism ˈmez-mə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce mesmerism (audio)
 also  ˈmes-
: hypnotic induction held to involve animal magnetism
broadly : hypnotism
: hypnotic appeal
ˈmez-mə-rist How to pronounce mesmerism (audio)
 also  ˈmes-

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 Richter then turned to the master of musical mesmerism for the movie’s soundtrack, to be performed live by a 14-player chamber ensemble of strings, winds and pairs of vibraphones and pianos. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2023 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mesmerism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


F. A. Mesmer

First Known Use

1784, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of mesmerism was in 1784

Dictionary Entries Near mesmerism

Cite this Entry

“Mesmerism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


mes·​mer·​ism ˈmez-mə-ˌriz-əm How to pronounce mesmerism (audio)
 also  ˈmes-

Medical Definition


ˈmez-mə-ˌriz-əm also ˈmes-
: hypnotic induction by the practices of F. A. Mesmer that was believed to involve animal magnetism
broadly : hypnotism

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