to·​tem·​ism ˈtō-tə-ˌmi-zəm How to pronounce totemism (audio)
: belief in kinship with or a mystical relationship between a group or an individual and a totem
: a system of social organization based on totemic affiliations

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Call it shamanism, call it totemism, call it idolatry. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 27 Dec. 2022 Social media has precipitated new types of totemism — the work of what being a fan means has been questioned, particularly after a death. Washington Post, 4 Dec. 2020 There is no reason to believe that months later politicians have become more interested in scientific evidence, as opposed to totemism. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, 14 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'totemism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1791, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of totemism was in 1791

Dictionary Entries Near totemism

Cite this Entry

“Totemism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on totemism

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