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Word of the Day
Sunday, January 22, 2017

Definitions for talisman

  1. anything whose presence exercises a remarkable or powerful influence on human feelings or actions.
  2. a stone, ring, or other object, engraved with figures or characters supposed to possess occult powers and worn as an amulet or charm.
  3. any amulet or charm.

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Citations for talisman
Don Vicente took from his pocket the little Golden Hand. "Take this," said he. "It is a talisman, the possessor of which can never lose his life, though the odds seem a hundred to one against him. Charles Gilson, "The Ghost of Carrickgore," Boys' Life, July 1937
... invisibility seldom inheres in the body, and it is almost never a permanent condition. It is a temporary state, bestowed from outside, through spells or talismans or clothing. Kathryn Schulz, "Sight Unseen," The New Yorker, April 13, 2015
Origin of talisman
Talisman comes into English in 1630-40 from French talisman, Spanish talismán, Portuguese talismã, or Italian talismano, all of which are alterations of the Arabic plural noun ṭilasmāt (singular ṭilasm) “talisman.” The final -n in the western European languages is unexplained. The Arabic word comes from Greek télesma “payment (made or to be made).” In Byzantine Greek and in Muslim North Africa, télesma and ṭilasm also referred to objects and statues consecrated for the protection of a city or town. The word entered English in the 17th century.