sha·​man | \ ˈshä-mən How to pronounce shaman (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shaman

shamanic \ shə-​ˈma-​nik How to pronounce shamanic (audio) , -​ˈmä-​ \ adjective

Examples of shaman in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As Hood notes, the archaeologists found no evidence clearly identifying the older man as a shaman, nor suggesting that he was sacrificed to ensure the chieftain’s safe passage into the afterlife. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Bronze Age Chieftain’s Remains Found Beneath U.K. Skate Park," 5 May 2020 Blaney and Basola had just finished looking into what turned out to be a false-alarm Finn sighting when Ghazi texted her about the good news from his shaman. Ellen Mccarthy, Washington Post, "Her dog went missing in the middle of the pandemic — and a neighborhood of strangers found a mission," 23 June 2020 The interred are as varied and colorful as Anchorage’s history, from a Civil War veteran to a shaman with weather powers, from pandemic victims to mayors, and from a governor to an exotic dancer. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "From Wally Hickel to Miss Wiggles, the storied history of Anchorage’s first cemetery," 22 June 2020 Where did the inspiration for the shaman come from? Alamin Yohannes,, "Sam Lansky on queer storytelling and moving into fiction with Broken People," 8 June 2020 For mothers with all their hats -- requisition and inventory officer, accountant, staff sergeant, teacher, coach, shrink, healer, chaplain, chef, dishwasher, shaman, farmer, artist, employee and boss. John Archibald |, al, "Why this Mother’s Day is different," 10 May 2020 Keep a particular eye out for Billie Lourd, ridiculously great as an out-there, drug-toting shaman of a wealthy classmate. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to watch on Hulu while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic," 3 Apr. 2020 Chacho, a shaman, had died in July, and tonight was the culmination of the Tanoing festival commemorating her death. Scientific American, "How Disaster Aid Ravaged an Island People," 25 Mar. 2020 At one point in this tonally jolting play, now receiving its world premiere from Signature Theatre, the character watches a video by a goddess-movement shaman. Celia Wren, Washington Post, "‘Easy Women Smoking Loose Cigarettes’ veers jarringly from comedy to darkness," 1 Mar. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shaman

Time Traveler for shaman

Time Traveler

The first known use of shaman was in 1698

See more words from the same year

Statistics for shaman

Last Updated

23 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shaman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shaman


How to pronounce shaman (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on shaman

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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