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

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Other Words from shaman

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

Examples of shaman in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And during that era, no shaman was more magical — a higher priest of high culture — than Leonard Bernstein. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 14 Aug. 2021 Jake Angeli, known as the QAnon shaman, and who sported a fur helmet topped with horns and face paint, has been held in custody since his arrest in Phoenix in the days following the raid. Perry Vandell, The Arizona Republic, 22 July 2021 One is a slow, exquisite dance performed by Ann Treesa Joy in a space only two feet square; another is a short interview, conducted by the gentle-eyed shaman Philip Santos Schaffer, who hands out treasures from a pile of costume jewelry. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 17 July 2021 What could feel more foreign in the contemporary white music landscape — so soaked in virtue — than a hostile, heavy-drinking, working-class shaman? Washington Post, 16 July 2021 Experts used radiocarbon dating to determine that the 21-inch-long snake dates to the Neolithic period, about 4,000 to 6,000 years ago, and believe that an ancient shaman may have used the object for magical rituals. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 July 2021 The eastern Utah property, the subject of an online photo show organized by the University of Maryland Art Gallery, evokes the Navajo myth of a vengeful shaman who can assume the forms of other creatures. Washington Post, 23 June 2021 This striking combination made Dylan seem like both an age-defying seer and a post-modern shaman. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 May 2021 Brandi and D'Andra were about to make up after their tiff over Brandi making a completely ridiculous show of moral superiority after the shaman ritual. Mary Sollosi,, 3 Apr. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near shaman

shama millet



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Statistics for shaman

Last Updated

5 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shaman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for shaman



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.

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


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