sha·man | \ ˈshä-mən , ˈshā- also shə-ˈmän \
plural shamans

Definition of shaman 

1 : a priest or priestess who uses magic for the purpose of curing the sick, divining the hidden, and controlling events

2 : one who resembles a shaman especially : high priest sense 3

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Other words from shaman

shamanic \shə-ˈma-nik, -ˈmä- \ adjective

Examples of shaman in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Like, the idea that there is a priest or a shaman or ... Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Author Jessica Weisberg on Recode Decode," 23 June 2018 Speculation holds that the drawings are likely spiritual or religious in nature, perhaps created by shamans, who kept the meanings secret. Diane Bell,, "Discovery of hidden drawings puts Poway Native American art in a class of its own," 9 July 2018 The internet, in other words, is a complicated thing, part trickster, part shaman, and a very large part siren. Steve Johnson,, "MCA's new 'I Was Raised on the Internet' exhibition asks what the web has done to us," 2 July 2018 Moments later and a few hundred feet away, a shaman of the Lahu ethnic group, Jakkha Seanlaung, sacrificed a chicken and placed its head on a small bamboo shrine along with offerings of coins, rice, tea, tobacco and soft drinks. New York Times, "As Search for Thai Boys Lost in Cave Hits Day 5, a Nation Holds Its Breath," 27 June 2018 If Herzog is a mystic and a shaman, though, Argentina’s Lucrecia Martel is a more hardheaded sort of cinematic poet. Ty Burr,, "‘Zama’ is Lucrecia Martel’s latest one-of-a-kind offering," 4 July 2018 The Carpathian mountains have always had a magical air; the region is home to the country’s last shamans, fortune-tellers and soothsayers who carry on an ancient Eurasian tradition. Linda Kinstler, Longreads, "Angrily Experiencing the Best Days of Our Lives," 27 June 2018 He was asked to buy a live turkey from a local market and meet the curandero, or shaman, at the entrance to one of the caves. Joshua Hydeman, National Geographic, "One of the Deepest Caves in the World is Even Bigger Than We Thought," 7 June 2018 After a brief rest and lunch, we were greeted by the village’s diminutive leader, who was also the region’s main shaman, or spiritual healer. Doug Hansen,, "Ecuador’s amazing Amazon," 23 May 2018

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

1698, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shaman

ultimately from Evenki (Tungusic language of Siberia) šamān

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Statistics for shaman

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for shaman

The first known use of shaman was in 1698

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English Language Learners Definition of shaman

: someone who is believed in some cultures to be able to use magic to cure people who are sick, to control future events, etc.

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More from Merriam-Webster on shaman

See words that rhyme with shaman

Britannica English: Translation of shaman for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about shaman

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