to·​tem·​ic | \tō-ˈte-mik \

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

Halloween positions this shift less as Laurie overcoming her trauma and more as Laurie fighting back against something totemic that has plagued all of humanity — but, also, disproportionately women. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The new Halloween reimagines the franchise as a tale of maternal warrior women," 19 Oct. 2018 In turn, this letter attracted protest from some younger party members, for whom trans rights are totemic. The Economist, "A culture war comes to Westminster," 5 July 2018 Newspapers in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, closely covered the trial, granting it a totemic status that extended beyond any specific crimes Woewiyu himself may have committed. Kelly Brennan,, "Delco man convicted of hiding past as Liberian war criminal," 3 July 2018 The Trib was known as a writer’s paper, and while there Wolfe made forays beyond totemic somnambulism. Ben Yagoda, WSJ, "An Appreciation: Tom Wolfe," 18 May 2018 As a comic-book artist, Liefeld was drawn to a particularly masculine aesthetic: His characters were totemic, musclebound creations, all arms and torsos, their faces scored by dark lines to suggest constant internal anguish. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Dour Resurgence of Cable, Deadpool 2’s Anti-Hero," 23 May 2018 Six-meter-high papier-mache sculptures of athletes, based on totemic Judas figures typically burned as part of Easter celebrations, marked the venues. Alexandra Lange, Curbed, "Lessons from LA’s 1984 Summer Olympics," 17 May 2018 Wandsworth and Westminster, two totemic Tory councils, did not fall, despite Labour’s noisy campaigns in both. The Economist, "Council elections in England reveal political stasis," 4 May 2018 But this is not at all the Bergé known in France, where the collector and businessman is a towering, even totemic, figure. James Mcauley, Town & Country, "Was Pierre Bergé the Most Powerful Man In France?," 8 Sep. 2017

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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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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The first known use of totemic was in 1846

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by force of circumstances

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