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

Examples of totemism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The musical totemism by which postwar youth consolidated their identities through affiliation with some genre or other was as real as any other social fact. Justin E. H. Smith, Harper's Magazine, 6 Sep. 2023 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'totemism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 17 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on totemism

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!