[ shah-muh-niz-uhm, shey-, sham-uh- ]
See synonyms for: shamanismshamanist on

  1. the animistic religion of northern Asia, embracing a belief in powerful spirits that can be influenced only by shamans.

  2. any similar religion.

Origin of shamanism

First recorded in 1770–80; shaman + -ism

Other words from shamanism

  • sha·man·ist, noun, adjective
  • sha·man·is·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use shamanism in a sentence

  • The non-shamanistic song series are "given away" or "destroyed" (tšupilyk) at the death of a relative.

    Seven Mohave Myths | A. L. Kroeber
  • The songs of a good many non-shamanistic narratives are danced to when there is a festival or gathering.

    Seven Mohave Myths | A. L. Kroeber
  • Under the influence of Eridu the religion of Babylonia ceased to be so purely Shamanistic as it once had been.

    A Primer of Assyriology | Archibald Henry Sayce

British Dictionary definitions for shamanism


/ (ˈʃæməˌnɪzəm) /

  1. the religion of certain peoples of northern Asia, based on the belief that the world is pervaded by good and evil spirits who can be influenced or controlled only by the shamans

  2. any similar religion involving forms of spiritualism

Derived forms of shamanism

  • shamanist, noun, adjective
  • shamanistic, adjective

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