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animism

[an-uh-miz-uh m] /ˈæn əˌmɪz əm/
noun
1.
the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls.
2.
the belief that natural objects have souls that may exist apart from their material bodies.
3.
the doctrine that the soul is the principle of life and health.
4.
belief in spiritual beings or agencies.
Origin
1825-1835
1825-35; < Latin anim(a) (see anima) + -ism
Related forms
animist, adjective
animistic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for animistic
  • They were animistic and shamanic in their religious practices.
British Dictionary definitions for animistic

animism

/ˈænɪˌmɪzəm/
noun
1.
the belief that natural objects, phenomena, and the universe itself have desires and intentions
2.
(in the philosophies of Plato and Pythagoras) the hypothesis that there is an immaterial force that animates the universe
Derived Forms
animist, noun
animistic (ˌænɪˈmɪstɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from Latin anima vital breath, spirit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for animistic

animism

n.

1866, reintroduced by English anthropologist Sir Edward Burnett Taylor (1832-1917), who defined it (1871) as the "theory of the universal animation of nature," from Latin anima "life, breath, soul" (see animus) + -ism.

Earlier sense was of "doctrine that animal life is produced by an immaterial soul" (1832), from German Animismus, coined c.1720 by physicist/chemist Georg Ernst Stahl (1660-1734) based on the concept of the anima mundi. Animist is attested from 1819, in Stahl's sense; animisic is first recorded 1871.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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animistic in Culture
animism [(an-uh-miz-uhm)]

The belief that natural objects such as rivers and rocks possess a soul or spirit. Anima is the Latin word for “soul” or “spirit.” (See voodoo.)

animism [(an-uh-miz-uhm)]

The belief, common among so-called primitive people, that objects and natural phenomena, such as rivers, rocks, and wind, are alive and have feelings and intentions. Animistic beliefs form the basis of many cults. (See also fetish and totemism.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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