Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A member of certain tribal societies who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world and who practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination, and control over natural events.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A traditional (prescientific) faith healer.
  • n. A member of certain tribal societies who acts as a religious medium between the concrete and spirit worlds.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A priest of Shamanism; a wizard among the Shamanists.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A professor or priest of Shamanism; a wizard or conjurer among those who profess Shamanism.
  • Relating to Shamanism.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. in societies practicing shamanism: one acting as a medium between the visible and spirit worlds; practices sorcery for healing or divination

Etymologies

Russian, from Tungus šaman, Buddhist monk, shaman, from Tocharian B ṣamāne, monk, from Prakrit ṣamana, from Sanskrit śramaṇaḥ, from śrámaḥ, religious exercise.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From German Schamane, from Russian шаман (šamán), from Evenki шаман (šamán), itself possibly from Chinese sha men, 'Buddhist monk', from Pali समन (samana), from Sanskrit श्रमण (śramaṇá, "ascetic, monk, devotee"), from श्रम (śráma, "fatigue, weariness, exhaustion; labor, toil etc."). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • This is one of those words where I thought I might find a fascinating etymology, and didn't.

    November 28, 2014