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totem

[toh-tuh m] /ˈtoʊ təm/
noun
1.
a natural object or an animate being, as an animal or bird, assumed as the emblem of a clan, family, or group.
2.
an object or natural phenomenon with which a family or sib considers itself closely related.
3.
a representation of such an object serving as the distinctive mark of the clan or group.
4.
anything serving as a distinctive, often venerated, emblem or symbol.
Origin
1750-1760
1750-60, Americanism; < Ojibwa ninto·te·m my totem, oto·te·man his totem (probably orig. my clan-village-mate, derivative of stem o·te·- dwell in or as a village; compare o·te·na village)
Related forms
totemic
[toh-tem-ik] /toʊˈtɛm ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective
totemically, adverb
subtotem, noun
subtotemic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for subtotem

totem

/ˈtəʊtəm/
noun
1.
(in some societies, esp among North American Indians) an object, species of animal or plant, or natural phenomenon symbolizing a clan, family, etc, often having ritual associations
2.
a representation of such an object
Derived Forms
totemic (təʊˈtɛmɪk) adjective
totemically, adverb
Word Origin
C18: from Ojibwa nintōtēm mark of my family
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 subtotem

totem

n.

animal or natural object considered as the emblem of a family or clan, 1760, from Algonquian (probably Ojibwa) odoodeman "his sibling kin, his group or family," hence, "his family mark;" also attested in French c.1600 in form aoutem among the Micmacs or other Indians of Nova Scotia. Totem pole is 1808, in reference to west coast Canadian Indians.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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subtotem in Culture

totem definition


An animal, plant, or other object in nature that has a special relationship to a person, family, or clan and serves as a sign for that person or group.

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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Idioms and Phrases with subtotem
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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