to·​tem·​ic | \ tō-ˈte-mik How to pronounce totemic (audio) \

Definition of totemic

1 : of, relating to, suggestive of, or characteristic of a totem or totemism a totemic animal
2 : based on or practicing totemism totemic clan structure

Examples of totemic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Olympics have been delayed, and the same increasingly likely to happen to Johnson's own totemic project. Edward Evans,, "Brexit Bulletin: Ventilators and Supermarket Shelves," 10 May 2020 The Last Dance underscores that Jordan was one of the last truly monocultural figures of the pre-internet era, totemic and inscrutable. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Can Michael Jordan Fill the Huge Sports-Size Hole in Our Hearts?," 24 Apr. 2020 The spectacle of an infuriated Trump ranting at the press corps has become a sort of totemic ritual of this bizarre era, going back to the very first official press conference of his Presidency. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Pandemic Plan: “Absolute Authority,” No Responsibility," 17 Apr. 2020 Two mighty mahogany doors (salvaged from Trout’s father’s home, lost after Hurricane Harvey), act as totemic portals to the chic wine atelier. Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle, "California dreaming: Mutiny Wine Room brings wine country experience to Houston," 17 Jan. 2020 At the same time, the project has totemic significance in Australia as a proxy for the fight between environmentalists and coal miners. Washington Post, "Voters Won’t Decide the Future of Energy," 20 Sep. 2019 Norton has essentially crossed Lethem’s book with The Power Broker, Robert Caro’s totemic biography of Moses—a daring decision that, theoretically, could have been fascinating. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Motherless Brooklyn Is a Passion Project Without Heart," 31 Oct. 2019 For environmentalists, too, the prospect of an operating Adani mine represents a totemic fundraising and rallying opportunity. Washington Post, "The World’s Most Controversial Coal Mine Doesn’t Add Up," 19 Sep. 2019 The production, which hits downtown’s Balboa Theatre for two performances today, celebrates Joplin’s musical influences, including such totemic figures as Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Bessie Smith. James Hebert, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Tony Award nominee Mary Bridget Davies celebrates Janis Joplin in touring show at Balboa," 20 Oct. 2019

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

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of totemic was in 1846

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Cite this Entry

“Totemic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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