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Totem   Listen
Totem  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; also, the object or animal itself, considered as an symbol of the family. "And they painted on the grave posts Of the graves, yet unforgotten, Each his own ancestral totem Each the symbol of his household; Figures of the bear and reindeer, Of the turtle, crane, and beaver." "The totem, the clan deity, the beast or bird who in some supernatural way attends to the clan and watches over it."
Anything which serves as a venerated or mystic symbol or emblem.

Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48

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"Totem" Quotes from Famous Books

... understand that which lay at the back of Keeko's eyes. She could not read the words on the totem. She did not know their meaning when she heard them. All she knew was that the white man ...
— The Heart of Unaga • Ridgwell Cullum

... even try to improve upon her, but we Indians think it very tiresome, especially as one considers the material side of the work—the pigment, the brush, the canvas! There is no mystery there; you know all about them! Worst of all is the commercialization of art. The rudely carved totem pole may appear grotesque to the white man, but it is the sincere expression of the faith and personality of the Indian craftsman, and has never been sold or bartered until ...
— The Indian Today - The Past and Future of the First American • Charles A. Eastman

... surely, considering who did them wonderful in design and particularly in execution, for they were done with admirable sharpness and exactness, and yet with no better tools than flint and jade and shell could furnish; and the totem-posts were there, ancestor above ancestor, with tongues protruded and hands clasped comfortably over bellies containing other people's ancestors—grotesque and ugly devils, every one, but lovingly carved, and ably; and the stuffed natives were present, in their ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... think, sir," said Venning, "the fact of his totem being an otter proves that his tribe derives its ...
— In Search of the Okapi - A Story of Adventure in Central Africa • Ernest Glanville

... was presented to the winners their totem had been ingeniously fashioned upon its shimmering folds. Every member of Stanhope troop felt a thrill of pardonable pride whenever his eyes fell upon the proof of ...
— The Banner Boy Scouts on a Tour - The Mystery of Rattlesnake Mountain • George A. Warren

... pushed on to the east shore, where the steam from a sawmill served as a guide, and landed at a point that cannot be far from the western limit of the present Pioneer Place, in Seattle, near where the totem pole ...
— Ox-Team Days on the Oregon Trail • Ezra Meeker

... be a genius. For one thing the girls were all wearing the regulation Camp Fire uniform, a loose blouse and dark blue serge skirt, and so she could not dress the part. Then, although the Camp Fire official log book had been given her to illustrate she had not even started to paint the totem of the Sunrise Camp on its brown leather cover, although Sunrise Hill stood, always before her in its changing beauty. The girls had taken its name for their camp with the thought that the hill might ...
— The Camp Fire Girls at Sunrise Hill • Margaret Vandercook

... through her private grounds away from the high road, and that generous lady's permission has been continued by her successor. The carriage drive runs by oaks and bracken through which pheasants rustle, past a strange, tall column of black wood—a totem-pole brought from Queen Charlotte's Islands; then it rises to the edge of a ridge overlooking a wide and level stretch of pinewood and heather. In August, when the ling is out with the bell-heather, and the pines stand deep in fern and rushes, no lovelier carpet spreads under ...
— Highways and Byways in Surrey • Eric Parker

... top; (d) leather string to tie under the chin; (e) the buttons, conchas or side ornaments of shells, silver, horn or wooden discs, even small mirrors and circles of beadwork were used, and sometimes the conchas were left out altogether; they may have the owner's totem on them, usually a bunch of ermine tails hung from each side of the bonnet just below the concha. A bunch of horsehair will answer as well; (hh) the holes in the leather for holding the lace of the feather; 24 feathers are needed ...
— Two Little Savages • Ernest Thompson Seton

... all, Christians in the sense that we're neither Jews, Mohammedans, nor Buddhists. But most of us don't belong to the same totem ...
— The Faith Doctor - A Story of New York • Edward Eggleston

... in certain cases Murri can marry Butha, and Kubbi may take Ippatha as his spouse— a similar liberty being allowed the men of phratry B. Again, where there is no objection arising from nearness of kin, a Murri man may marry a Matha woman, but her totem must be different from his, and she must belong to a distant family. This applies to the men of every section. By the strict letters of the foregoing table, it would appear that the child of a brother can marry the child of a sister, but this is rigorously forbidden—the table being construed ...
— The Wiradyuri and Other Languages of New South Wales • Robert Hamilton Mathews

... smearing of my fingers, and took it to the moonlight. It was made of the softest of dressed doeskin, and embroidered in red porcupine quills with the figure of a beaver squatting on a rounded lodge. I had seen that design before. It was the totem sign of the house of the Baron, and this bag had hung from Pemaou's neck that day when he danced between me and the sunset and flung the ...
— Montlivet • Alice Prescott Smith

... that sweep across the meadows and sand-dunes, the waves that lap peacefully or dash thunderously, tell us nothing of these old and often dismal quarrels. They are but secular things after all; the things that are eternal reach deeper than creed or vestment. We do not ask what fetish or totem the sleepers in the grassy barrows believed in; we may ask if they lived their lives truly and faithfully, doing that which was good according to the light of their ...
— The Cornwall Coast • Arthur L. Salmon

... canibus monstrosa narratio. Forsam totem videri allegorica allusio possit ad Canibales de quibus Petrus [1] Martyr Mediolan de rebus Occatucis. [Footnote 1: Born at Florence in 1500, he entered the church very young, but the reading of the works of Zwingler and Bucer led him to join the reformers. He withdrew to Basle, where he ...
— The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries - Vol. II • Richard Hakluyt

... thus honored by the gens was, in the Indian dialect, the totem of the clan. This organization and custom we find running all through the Indian tribes. In many tribes the Indians were wont to carve a figure of their totem on a piece of slate, or even to carve a stone in the shape of ...
— The Prehistoric World - Vanished Races • E. A. Allen

Words linked to "Totem" :   clan, U.S.A., tribe, totemist, America, kindred, kin group, emblem, the States, United States, United States of America, US, totemic, kinship group, U.S., totem pole, USA

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