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90s Slang You Should Know


[tal-is-muh n, -iz-] /ˈtæl ɪs mən, -ɪz-/
noun, plural talismans.
a stone, ring, or other object, engraved with figures or characters supposed to possess occult powers and worn as an amulet or charm.
any amulet or charm.
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 forms
[tal-is-man-ik, -iz-] /ˌtæl ɪsˈmæn ɪk, -ɪz-/ (Show IPA),
talismanical, adjective
talismanically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for talisman
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But for the talisman, he would never have seen the notice, and a little shiver ran through him as he thought of this.

  • "Hope and Have," she often said to herself; and the words were a talisman to keep her in the path of duty.

    Hope and Have Oliver Optic
  • She had a laminated press-pass out in her free hand and was holding it up beside her head like a talisman.

    Makers Cory Doctorow
  • Orso made an attempt to kiss the hand that held out the talisman.

    Columba Prosper Merimee
  • Such is the tradition concerning the talisman, which the author has taken the liberty to vary in applying it to his own purposes.

    The Talisman Sir Walter Scott
  • Saying this, she stretched out her slimy fingers to seize the talisman.

  • The talisman, instead of establishing a river connection with the Mississippi River cities, never came back.

British Dictionary definitions for talisman


noun (pl) -mans
a stone or other small object, usually inscribed or carved, believed to protect the wearer from evil influences
anything thought to have magical or protective powers
Derived Forms
talismanic (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
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Word Origin and History for talisman

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
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