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 Los Angeles sculptor Kenzi Shiokava, who transformed scraps of wood into totemic sculptures rife with spiritual power, is dead at 82. Los Angeles Times, 3 July 2021 Darius Jewels Darius Khonsary views jewelry as totemic vessels—items of power and protection that connect us to the world at large. Charlotte Diamond, Vogue, 24 June 2021 Matthews’s citations of other presidential utterances here seem mostly to serve as totemic reminders that, throughout our history, presidents have said things that are presidential. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, 1 June 2021 One gallery sporting dozens of small works perched on steel pedestals evokes everything from Picasso to Brancusi to the totemic forms of ancient cultures., 13 May 2021 As with his totemic travel writing, exotic settings and a flair for adventure invigorate the otherwise workmanlike prose, and the scenes flash with surfer’s lingo, snatches of Hawaiian pidgin and odes to the ocean. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 7 May 2021 Through Hsiung’s camera, its components become totemic, almost erotic: the tapered neck of the artichoke, the smooth flesh of the fish. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 17 Mar. 2021 The list includes work by Sharif Bey, Ellen Blalock and Ellen Lesperance, as well as a totemic fabric piece by L.A. artist Shinique Smith, approved just last week. Matt Stromberg, Los Angeles Times, 29 Dec. 2020 The days of the totemic home phone number are vanishing. Eric Zorn,, 1 Dec. 2020

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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Last Updated

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Totemic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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