sha·​man·​ism | \ ˈshä-mə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce shamanism (audio) , ˈshā-mə- also shə-ˈmä- \

Definition of shamanism

: a religion practiced by indigenous peoples of far northern Europe and Siberia that is characterized by belief in an unseen world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits responsive only to the shamans also : any similar religion

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from shamanism

shamanist \ ˈshä-​mə-​nist How to pronounce shamanism (audio) , ˈshā-​mə-​ also  shə-​ˈmä-​ \ noun
shamanistic \ ˌshä-​mə-​ˈni-​stik How to pronounce shamanism (audio) , ˌshā-​mə-​ \ adjective

Examples of shamanism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Cohen eventually took a 4-week intensive on Jewish shamanism, and soon started blending games with his religious practice. Eli Reiter, Wired, "How One Rabbi Uses Roleplaying Games to Build Community," 21 Jan. 2021 Working in all media, contemporary artists continue to evolve the form, drawing from a prismatic array of philosophies, traditions and cultural movements — from ecofeminism and shamanism to Mexicayotl and Black Power. Steffie Nelson, Los Angeles Times, "A new ‘Library of Esoterica’ brings the occult to your coffee table," 15 Dec. 2020 Such is the case of Huautla, in the state of Oaxaca, a town well known among tourists for its shamanism and its Day of the Dead traditions. Rodrigo Cervantes, The Arizona Republic, "Mexico’s Día de Muertos globalizes, but the pandemic threatens it," 31 Oct. 2020 But witchcraft encompasses a wide range of cultural and regional beliefs, from shamanism to metaphysical ideas to pre-Christian folkloric traditions that historically have been viewed negatively. Joseph Prezioso, National Geographic, "Witch hunt tourism is lucrative. It also obscures a tragic history," 23 Oct. 2020 Luckily for the reader of Children of Ash and Elm, Price happens to specialize in Viking religion and polar shamanism, and the book begins with a deep dive into Viking mythology and cosmological belief. Scott Beauchamp, Washington Examiner, "Who were the real Vikings?," 24 Sep. 2020 Until relatively recently, only a few botanists, hippies and spiritual seekers gained access to the world of Amazon shamanism, which missionaries drove underground during colonization. Ernesto Londoño And Adam Ferguson New York Times, Star Tribune, "Psychedelics draw veterans to jungle in search of healing," 10 Sep. 2020 No doubt this part of Rytkheu’s story has origins in the real epidemics of the past as well as traditional beliefs in mysterious little people and shamanism. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "Chukchi novel tells of a time when humans and whales were kin," 16 May 2020 Rather Moscow is a city west of Siberia in dire need of reform and anarchy, cheerful skies and irony, and perhaps a touch of shamanism, too. The Economist, "Siberia is an empty land filled with contradictions," 21 Dec. 2019

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

1780, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shamanism

Time Traveler for shamanism

Time Traveler

The first known use of shamanism was in 1780

See more words from the same year

Statistics for shamanism

Last Updated

2 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shamanism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

More from Merriam-Webster on shamanism Encyclopedia article about shamanism

Comments on shamanism

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


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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