Dictionary.com

animism

[ an-uh-miz-uhm ]
/ ˈæn əˌmɪz əm /
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noun

the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls.
the belief that natural objects have souls that may exist apart from their material bodies.
the doctrine that the soul is the principle of life and health.
belief in spiritual beings or agencies.

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Origin of animism

1825–35; <Latin anim(a) (see anima) + -ism
an·i·mist, adjectivean·i·mis·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for animism

animism
/ (ˈænɪˌmɪzəm) /

noun

the belief that natural objects, phenomena, and the universe itself have desires and intentions
(in the philosophies of Plato and Pythagoras) the hypothesis that there is an immaterial force that animates the universe
animist, nounanimistic (ˌænɪˈmɪstɪk), adjective
C19: from Latin anima vital breath, spirit
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

Cultural definitions for animism (1 of 2)

animism
[ (an-uh-miz-uhm) ]

The belief that natural objects such as rivers and rocks possess a soul or spirit. Anima is the Latin word for “soul” or “spirit.” (See voodoo.)

Cultural definitions for animism (2 of 2)

animism
[ (an-uh-miz-uhm) ]

The belief, common among so-called primitive people, that objects and natural phenomena, such as rivers, rocks, and wind, are alive and have feelings and intentions. Animistic beliefs form the basis of many cults. (See also fetish and totemism.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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