sha·​man ˈshä-mən How to pronounce shaman (audio)
 also  shə-ˈmän
plural shamans
: a priest or priestess who uses magic for the purpose of curing the sick, divining the hidden, and controlling events
: one who resembles a shaman
especially : high priest sense 3
shə-ˈma-nik How to pronounce shaman (audio)

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Everyone took the serum; Namor’s mother was skeptical about it at first but was later convinced after the shaman told her that her baby was sick. Time, 11 Nov. 2022 An intriguing article in National Geographic about a shaman in the Amazon prompted Sean to put all his savings and annual leave toward a research trip in Peru. CNN, 31 Oct. 2022 But apparently, no amount of drinking on a party bike and healing with a shaman helped the reality star, who, after the season filmed, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in an alleged nationwide telemarketing scheme. Kimi Robinson, The Arizona Republic, 20 Oct. 2022 When a village would have a drought, or a child would die from disease, there was always a production where the shaman as storyteller would take a journey inside of him- or herself and bring the village together. Patrick Frater, Variety, 24 Oct. 2022 The shaman led Jacob and Jill in a tantric breathing mediation that ended with howling at the moon. Dana Rose Falcone, Peoplemag, 11 Oct. 2022 The rituals included dances, folk tunes and other festivities, after which the shaman would make predictions. Sonya Rehman, Forbes, 10 Oct. 2022 The same collaborative meaning-making was in evidence at Wynn’s, where Wengrow was receptive to everyone, even the inevitable town-hall shaman who stood and delivered a mumblecore homily about … something. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 11 July 2022 Another top Lukoil manager, Alexander Subbotin, was found dead near Moscow in May after reportedly visiting a shaman, TASS reported. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, 2 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


ultimately from Evenki (Tungusic language of Siberia) šamān

First Known Use

1698, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of shaman was in 1698

Dictionary Entries Near shaman

Cite this Entry

“Shaman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

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