Definition of Totem

1. Noun. A clan or tribe identified by their kinship to a common totemic object.

Generic synonyms: Clan, Kin, Kin Group, Kindred, Kinship Group, Tribe
Member holonyms: Totemist

2. Noun. Emblem consisting of an object such as an animal or plant; serves as the symbol of a family or clan (especially among American Indians).
Generic synonyms: Emblem
Geographical relationships: America, The States, U.s., U.s.a., United States, United States Of America, Us, Usa
Derivative terms: Totemic

Definition of Totem

1. n. A rude picture, as of a bird, beast, or the like, used by the North American Indians as a symbolic designation, as of a family or a clan.

Definition of Totem

1. Noun. Any natural object or living creature that serves as an emblem of a tribe, clan or family. ¹

2. Noun. The representation of such object or creature. ¹

3. Noun. The clan whose kinship is defined in reference to such an object or creature. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Totem

1. a natural object serving as the emblem of a family or clan [n -S] : TOTEMIC [adj]

Medical Definition of Totem

1. An object (usually an animal or plant) serving as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry; something that serves as a revered symbol. Origin: Amer. Indian (05 Mar 2000)

Lexicographical Neighbors of Totem

tote bag
tote bags
tote board
tote boards
tote mism
tote up
totem (current term)
totem pole
totem poles
totem tennis

Literary usage of Totem

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and (1911)
"A step further is when a man gives his totem name to his son, who then has those ... We thus see how the change from female to male descent of the totem is ..."

2. The Encyclopaedia Britannica: “a” Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature edited by Hugh Chisholm (1910)
"totems and totem names are inherited by the children from the mother, ... Eagle Hawk by phratry, Snipe by totem, marries a woman Crow by phratry, ..."

3. The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General by Thomas Spencer Baynes (1888)
"If the man respects and cares for the totem, he expects that the totem will do the вате by him. In Senega mbia the totems, when they are dangerous animals, ..."

4. Publications by Folklore Society (Great Britain) (1902)
"totem names are the titles of groups of kindred, real or imagined ; they are derived from animals, plants, and other natural objects; they appear among ..."

5. The Native Tribes of Central Australia by Baldwin Spencer, Francis James Gillen (1899)
"Each brand was distinctive of some special totem, but the most striking point in connection with the painting was that the brand of any particular ..."

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