to·​tem·​ism | \ ˈtō-tə-ˌmi-zəm How to pronounce totemism (audio) \

Definition of totemism

1 : belief in kinship with or a mystical relationship between a group or an individual and a totem
2 : a system of social organization based on totemic affiliations

Examples of totemism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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, "After the untimely deaths of young rappers, fans are determined to continue their legacy," 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, "Democrats' COVID totemism," 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.

First Known Use of totemism

1791, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of totemism was in 1791

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Cite this Entry

“Totemism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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