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Word of the Day
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Definitions for totem

  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.

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Citations for totem
Many's the savage I've run into who sees his totem in dreams or visions. Philip José Farmer, The Dark Design, 1977
Grandma refused to interpret the dreams. Padlock asked her fiancé to have a go at it. He based his interpretation on totemic symbols. Padlock belonged to the elephant totem. Moses Isegawa, Abyssinian Chronicles, 1998
Origin of totem
1750-1760
This Americanism came to English in the mid-1700s from Ojibwa.