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talisman

[tal-is-muh n, -iz-]
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noun, plural tal·is·mans.
  1. a stone, ring, or other object, engraved with figures or characters supposed to possess occult powers and worn as an amulet or charm.
  2. any amulet or charm.
  3. anything whose presence exercises a remarkable or powerful influence on human feelings or actions.

Origin of talisman

1630–40; < French or SpanishArabic ṭilasm < Greek télesma payment, equivalent to teles- (variant stem of teleîn to complete, perform) + -ma noun suffix of result
Related formstal·is·man·ic [tal-is-man-ik, -iz-] /ˌtæl ɪsˈmæn ɪk, -ɪz-/, tal·is·man·i·cal, adjectivetal·is·man·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for talisman

talisman

noun plural -mans
  1. a stone or other small object, usually inscribed or carved, believed to protect the wearer from evil influences
  2. anything thought to have magical or protective powers
Derived Formstalismanic (ˌtælɪzˈmænɪk), adjective

Word Origin

C17: via French or Spanish from Arabic tilsam, from Medieval Greek telesma ritual, from Greek: consecration, from telein to perform a rite, complete, from telos end, result
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

Word Origin and History for talisman

n.

1630s, from French talisman, in part via Arabic tilsam (plural tilsaman), a Greek loan-word; in part directly from Byzantine Greek telesma "talisman, religious rite, payment," earlier "consecration, ceremony," originally "completion," from telein "perform (religious rites), pay (tax), fulfill," from telos "completion, end, tax" (see tele-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper