tal·​is·​man | \ ˈta-ləs-mən How to pronounce talisman (audio) , -ləz- \
plural talismans

Definition of talisman

1 : an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune
2 : something producing apparently magical or miraculous effects

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Other Words from talisman

talismanic \ ˌta-​ləs-​ˈma-​nik How to pronounce talisman (audio) , -​ləz-​ \ adjective
talismanically \ ˌta-​ləs-​ˈma-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce talisman (audio) , -​ləz-​ \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for talisman



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Did You Know?

Do you believe in lucky charms? Language reflects the fact that many people do. We might have borrowed talisman from French, Spanish, or Italian; all three include similar-looking words for a lucky charm. Those three terms derive from a single Arabic word for a charm, tilsam. Tilsam in turn can be traced to the ancient Greek verb telein, which means "to initiate into the mysteries." While the word talisman, in its strictest use, refers to an object, even a human being can be considered a talisman—such as a player on a team whose mere presence somehow causes magical things to happen.

Examples of talisman in a Sentence

a pendant of white nephrite jade is often worn by Indians as a talisman to ward off heart disease
Recent Examples on the Web Wafa flew to Cairo in July, having spent the last of her money, clutching the ghost ticket like a talisman. Caitlin Dwyer, Longreads, 29 May 2021 After a promising start, Lazio’s results slowed down and the team eventually failed to compete for the European position, despite talisman Ciro Immobile netting 25 goals and providing eight assists across Serie A and Champions League. Giacomo Galardini, Forbes, 24 May 2021 The club from Bergamo in Northern Italy managed to secure a UEFA Champions League qualification for the third year in a row, finishing third in the table despite having sold their talisman, Alejandro Gomez, to Spanish-side Sevilla only in January. Giacomo Galardini, Forbes, 24 May 2021 Real Madrid’s defensive talisman Sergio Ramos missed the first leg with injury and is still a doubtful starter despite being included in the squad in London. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 5 May 2021 That alone suggests much about its fade into history, and why the Southern Cross, a talisman for unending defiance, loomed ever larger. BostonGlobe.com, 21 Apr. 2021 Where many of the time would have dismissed the youth for his physical ailment, Mr. Felsch saw a talisman. New York Times, 2 Apr. 2021 The Firestarter is a talisman as well as a curse; non-human powers want it, and now Taryn’s sin of revenge has laid her open to attack, and not just from one quarter. Tom Shippey, WSJ, 2 Apr. 2021 Nearly three decades after his death in an automobile accident, Petrovic remains such a muse that Goles of Idaho State sometimes wears his replica Nets jersey around campus and takes it to games as a talisman to inspire her shooting. New York Times, 22 Mar. 2021

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

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for talisman

French talisman or Spanish talismán or Italian talismano; all from Arabic ṭilsam, from Middle Greek telesma, from Greek, consecration, from telein to initiate into the mysteries, complete, from telos end — more at telos

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Time Traveler for talisman

Time Traveler

The first known use of talisman was in 1638

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Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Talisman.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/talisman. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for talisman



English Language Learners Definition of talisman

: an object (such as a ring or stone) that is believed to have magic powers and to cause good things to happen to the person who has it


tal·​is·​man | \ ˈta-lə-smən How to pronounce talisman (audio) \
plural talismans

Kids Definition of talisman

: a ring or stone carved with symbols and believed to have magical powers : charm


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