Definition of Shaman
(noun) A religious specialist with direct access and influence over supernatural power that typically uses magic or sorcery for controlling the environment, divination or healing purposes.
Example of Shaman
- A medicine person in Native American cultures such as the Cherokee Nation.
- American English – /shAY-muhn/
- British English – /shAHm-uhn/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈʃeɪmən/
- British English – /ˈʃeɪmən/
- Plural: shamans
- The difference between a shaman and a priest is that a shaman’s role is often performed part time and with direct access or control of supernatural power and a priest’s role is often full time, but lacking direct control over supernatural power, acting only as an intermediary.
- The roles of shamans and specific names for shamans (e.g., medicine man) change according to culture and society, thus a single definition cannot capture the continuum of shamans or shamanism.
- Also called:
- medicine man (medicine-man) or medicine woman (medicine-woman).
- priest doctor (priest-doctor)
- witch doctor (witch-doctor)
- A (noun) shaman practices or (verb) shamanizes (noun) shamanism using (adjective) shamanic methods.
- Religion Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “shaman” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- belief system
- personified supernatural force
Cite the Definition of Shaman
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “shaman.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 5, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/shaman/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
shaman. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/shaman/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “shaman.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 5, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/shaman/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“shaman.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 5 Jun. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/shaman/>.