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[kuh-riz-muh] /kəˈrɪz mə/
noun, plural charismata
[kuh-riz-muh-tuh] /kəˈrɪz mə tə/ (Show IPA)
Theology. a divinely conferred gift or power.
a spiritual power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people.
the special virtue of an office, function, position, etc., that confers or is thought to confer on the person holding it an unusual ability for leadership, worthiness of veneration, or the like.
Also, charism
[kar-iz-uh m] /ˈkær ɪz əm/ (Show IPA)
Origin of charisma
1635-45; < Late Latin < Greek, equivalent to char- (base of cháris favor, charízesthai to favor; akin to yearn, exhort) + -isma -ism
2. charm, magnetism, presence. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for charisma
  • But he certainly had a personal charisma that earned him followers.
  • Giant pandas possess the charisma that politicians and movie stars dream of-and people crave a glimpse.
  • We scholars have done little to rectify the situation, what with our boring books and our excesses of anti-charisma.
  • Her halting voice and self-conscious demeanor make an island of negative charisma onstage.
  • But while those digital synths do more for around the same price, they don't have this much charisma or personality.
  • His charisma consists of having no obvious charisma except phenomenal concentration and guts.
  • He is a vigorous politician with a grandfatherly sort of charisma.
  • Both hidden their true selves with charisma and lies without blinking an eye.
  • Photographs and snatches of videotape don't quite capture it because fundamentally what people were talking about was charisma.
  • He brings a charisma and a consumer attraction that marketers covet.
British Dictionary definitions for charisma


a special personal quality or power of an individual making him capable of influencing or inspiring large numbers of people
a quality inherent in a thing which inspires great enthusiasm and devotion
(Christianity) a divinely bestowed power or talent
Derived Forms
charismatic (ˌkærɪzˈmætɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Church Latin, from Greek kharisma, from kharis grace, favour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for charisma

"gift of leadership, power of authority," c.1930, from German, used in this sense by Max Weber (1864-1920) in "Wirtschaft u. Gesellschaft" (1922), from Greek kharisma "favor, divine gift," from kharizesthai "to show favor to," from kharis "grace, beauty, kindness" (Charis was the name of one of the three attendants of Aphrodite) related to khairein "to rejoice at," from PIE root *gher- "to desire, like" (see hortatory). More mundane sense of "personal charm" recorded by 1959.

Earlier, the word had been used in English with a sense of "grace, talent from God" (1875), directly from Latinized Greek; and in the form charism (plural charismata) it is attested with this sense in English from 1640s. Middle English, meanwhile, had karisme "spiritual gift, divine grace" (c.1500).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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charisma in Culture
charisma [(kuh-riz-muh)]

Extraordinary power and appeal of personality; natural ability to inspire a large following.

Note: Political leaders such as John F. Kennedy, religious leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and entertainment figures such as Greta Garbo have all been described as charismatic.
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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