sha·​man·​ism ˈshä-mə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce shamanism (audio)
 also  shə-ˈmä-
: 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
ˈshä-mə-nist How to pronounce shamanism (audio)
 also  shə-ˈmä-
shamanistic adjective

Examples of shamanism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web According to co-author Ke Wang, of China’s Fudan University, one individual in Nizhnetytkesken Cave was found with burial goods like stone points, ornaments and animal claws that may indicate religious overtones and the possible practice of shamanism. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Jan. 2023 Comprised of singer Araceli Poma and producer/bassist Matt Geraphty, the Spanish- and Quechua-language duo embrace these traditional trademarks, all the while paying respect to millennia-old practices — like healing through coca leaves, shamanism and sacred water. Isabela Raygoza, Billboard, 3 Nov. 2022 Drawing on the hardships of his early life, including three years of imprisonment in a Communist labor camp in North Korea, Moon fashioned a unique theology combining elements of Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism and shamanism that attracted tens of thousands of followers in Korea and beyond. Clay Chandler, Fortune, 11 July 2022 Horror story centering on shamanism. Shalini Dore, Variety, 11 Nov. 2021 Then there’s the Jewish Entheogenic Society on Facebook, boasting close to 1,000 members, not to mention the upcoming Jewish Psychedelic Summit, where dozens of speakers are slated to present on ancient psychedelic ritual and religious frameworks, Jewish shamanism, and contemporary practices. Madison Margolin, Rolling Stone, 23 Apr. 2021 His biggest breakthrough came not from a fellow magician but from a historian: Mircea Eliade, a Romanian scholar of religion known for his writing on esoteric subjects like alchemy and shamanism. Shuja Haider, New York Times, 2 Jan. 2023 The individual was buried with rich burial goods and a costume that Posth says could indicate some sort of shamanism. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 13 Feb. 2023 The Shuar are the Indigenous people of the region, legendary warriors known for shamanism and for shrinking the heads of their enemies. David Kushner, Outside Online, 28 Dec. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shamanism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1780, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shamanism was in 1780

Dictionary Entries Near shamanism

Cite this Entry

“Shamanism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

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