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

But less is known about the slaying of Olivia Arevalo, 81, a revered shaman of the Shipibo-Conibo tribe who was shot dead near her home on Thursday. Author: Mitra Taj, Anchorage Daily News, "Peru judge orders two arrests for allegedly lynching Canadian," 24 Apr. 2018 Highlights include hiking jungle trails and nighttime boat excursions, studying insects and spiders, and visiting a shaman for insight into local communities' traditions and culture. Rosemary Mcclure,, "Study spiders and hike the jungle on Amazon River tour in Peru," 27 Mar. 2018 Hill tribe shamans trekked from nearby villages, sacrificing live animals to a mountain spirit in exchange for the boys’ safety. Time, "Grandfather of Trapped Thai Boy Says He’ll ‘Never Let Them Near a Cave Again’," 5 July 2018 Kassin received a stream of visitors in the longhouse, including his mother, from Bogotá, and, one evening, Manuel Coronado, an elderly Kogi mamo, or shaman, who had walked several hours from his own village, Tungheka. Jon Lee Anderson, Condé Nast Traveler, "Stepping Beyond Cartagena: Exploring Colombia's Northern Reaches," 21 Mar. 2018 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

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

13 Oct 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

Comments on shaman

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


by force of circumstances

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