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illustration Talisman



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Arabic, early 17th century


An object, typically an inscribed ring or stone, that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck.


A person regarded as representing and inspiring a particular group.

Examples of Talisman in a sentence

"In the fairy tale, the girl was never supposed to take off her talisman, or the witch would find her."

"I've always viewed Sally Ride as a talisman for young women entering the sciences. "

About Talisman

The Arabic word "tilsam" serves as inspiration for magical objects across multiple languages. In French and English, it's "talisman." It earns an accent mark in Spanish — "talismán" — and in Italian it’s "talismano."

Did you Know?

The talisman appears in many different types of magical lore, but the basics are the same. It's often a ring or amulet that is supposed to protect the bearer against all manner of negative effects, from evil to illness. In more modern usage, the word "talisman" is applied to people who are held up as representative for certain groups and inspiring in some way. No magical powers, but perhaps they still hold a bit of protective charm for their communities.

illustration Talisman

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