Word of the Day

Friday, January 21, 2011

totemic

\toh-TEM-ik\ , adjective;
1.
Pertaining to an object or natural phenomenon with which a family or group considers itself closely related.
2.
Relating to a representation of such an object serving as the distinctive mark of the clan or group.
Quotes:
It's as totemic to me as Don's black hat was to my baby daughter.
-- Jonathan Stone, Monkeys on My Back: Three Unpublished(unpublishable?) Novels (Oh, and a Novella)
A convict's personal possessions - few in number, weighted with significance-took on a totemic quality, and Doug had, over time, winnowed his meaningful totems down to exactly one.
-- Chuck Hogan, Prince of Thieves: A Novel
Origin:
Totemic derives from the Algonquian (probably Ojibwa) odoodeman, "his sibling kin, his group or family," hence, "his family mark."
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