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Totem   /tˈoʊtəm/   Listen
Totem

noun
1.
A clan or tribe identified by their kinship to a common totemic object.
2.
Emblem consisting of an object such as an animal or plant; serves as the symbol of a family or clan (especially among American Indians).



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"Totem" Quotes from Famous Books



... 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 now stands. ...
— Ox-Team Days on the Oregon Trail • Ezra Meeker

... has its name, as the clan of the Hawk, of the Wolf, or of the Tortoise; and each has for its emblem the figure of the beast, bird, reptile, plant, or other object, from which its name is derived. This emblem, called totem by the Algonquins, is often tattooed on the clansman's body, or rudely painted over the entrance of his lodge. The child belongs, in most cases, to the clan, not of the father, but of the mother. In other words, descent, not of the totem alone, but of all rank, titles, and possessions, ...
— The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century • Francis Parkman

... wish-hounds, or a single savage dog or wolf, the inference is obvious to the mythopoeic mind that men may become wolves, at least after death. And to the uncivilized thinker this inference is strengthened, as Mr. Spencer has shown, by evidence registered on his own tribal totem or heraldic emblem. The bears and lions and leopards of heraldry are the degenerate descendants of the totem of savagery which designated the tribe by a beast-symbol. To the untutored mind there is everything in a name; and the descendant of Brown Bear or Yellow Tiger or ...
— Myths and Myth-Makers - Old Tales and Superstitions Interpreted by Comparative Mythology • John Fiske

... light and airy with you. He asked me what gens you belonged to. I told him I guessed it was the grouse gens. He said he had not been aware that such a totem existed among the Sioux. I replied that, so far as I could ascertain, you were the only surviving member of ...
— Esther • Henry Adams

... clan or gens is prohibited; among many tribes a vestige of the inferential primitive condition is found in the curious prohibition of communications between children-in-law and parents-in-law; the clan taboos are commonly connected with the tutelar beast-god, perhaps represented by a totem. ...
— The Siouan Indians • W. J. McGee

... Hooniah's pride was unshaken. And because the women envied her, her pride was without end and boundless, till it filled the village and spilled over along the Alaskan shore from Dutch Harbor to St. Mary's. Her totem had become justly celebrated, and her name known on the lips of men wherever men fished and feasted, what of the blankets and their marvellous thickness and warmth. It was a most mysterious happening, the manner ...
— Children of the Frost • Jack London

... doom itself, the council proceeded with its task. Some manner of balloting was adopted, and immediate members of the Cayuse totem drew lots as to which must perform the lawful deed. It fell to a brother of the prisoner—a half-brother only, to be accurate, since the doomed man's father had ...
— The Furnace of Gold • Philip Verrill Mighels

... us. A very few overlooked our faded flannel shirts, our soiled trousers, our floppy old hats with their rattlesnake bands, the wear and tear of our equipment, to respond to us heartily. Them in return we generally perceived to belong to our totem. ...
— The Mountains • Stewart Edward White

... to havoc and his weapons lost their lusting, Till his stormy eyes allured her from the land of Totem Poles, Till she followed where he called her, followed with a woman's trusting, To the canyon where the ...
— Flint and Feather • E. Pauline Johnson

... in all the three Festivals there was a pervasive element of vague fear. Hitherto we have been dealing with early Greek religion chiefly from the point of view of mana, the positive power or force that man tries to acquire from his totem-animal or his god. But there is also a negative side to be considered: there is not only the mana, but the tabu, the Forbidden, the Thing Feared. We must cast away the old year; we must put our sins on ...
— Five Stages of Greek Religion • Gilbert Murray

... rule would in a large camp be punished with death. The reason for this is the dread with which they regard the menstrual period of women. During such a time, a woman is kept entirely away from the camp, half a mile at least. A woman in such a condition has boughs of some tree of her totem tied round her loins, and is constantly watched and guarded, for it is thought that should any male be so unfortunate as to see a woman in such a condition, he would die. If such a woman were to let herself be seen by a man, she would probably be put to death. When the woman ...
— Balder The Beautiful, Vol. I. • Sir James George Frazer

... imitate nature and 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 it ...
— The Indian Today - The Past and Future of the First American • Charles A. Eastman

... supper. He had already packed all his stores under the shelter of the wigwam and the canoe, covering the latter with the ground-sheet. He had also lighted the hurricane lamp and suspended it from the top of the totem pole. ...
— Kiddie the Scout • Robert Leighton

... through the water at the boat's bow, and as we strike a match the whole surface flames like the brandy on a Christmas plum-pudding. On the opposite side of the river are "lobsticks," a new word to us and a new thing. To stand as a living totem-pole, the Indians select on a striking promontory a tall spruce and from a section of the trunk lop all the branches except two, which are left as wings. If the lobstick is to stand a monument to a certain man or party, the names of those to be honored ...
— The New North • Agnes Deans Cameron

... monstrosis mulieribus et 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 ...
— The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries - Vol. II • Richard Hakluyt

... women invest him with an elaborately ornamented tunic, place upon his head a chaplet of feathers, and paint the gentile totem on his face. The sachem of the tribe then announces to the people that the man has been made chief of the gens, and admitted to the council. This is also followed ...
— Wyandot Government: A Short Study of Tribal Society - Bureau of American Ethnology • John Wesley Powell

... in the Fortnightly Review, gives the following description of the totem: "A totem is a class of natural phenomena or material objects—most commonly a species of animals or plants—between which and himself the savage believes that a certain intimate relation exists.... This relation leads the savage to abstain from killing or eating ...
— India, Its Life and Thought • John P. Jones

... this one, I can say with the Psalmist, "I studied that I might know this thing, it is a labour in my sight" (Psalm 72). And I can say it with St. Columban, Totum, dicere volui in breve, totem non potui. In the book I quote Cardinal Bona. In his wonderful Rerum Liturgicarum (II., xx., 6) he wrote what I add as ...
— The Divine Office • Rev. E. J. Quigley

... billycocks; the other fifteen stood up bareheaded, including the 'King's Stick,' called further south 'King's Mouf.' This spokesman, like the 'Meu-'minister of Dahome, repeated to his master our interpreter's words; and his long wand of office was capped with a silver elephant—King Blay's 'totem,' equivalent to our heraldic signs. So in Ashanti-land some caboceers cap their huge umbrellas with the twidam, or leopard, the Etchwee, or panther, of Bowdich, [Footnote: Mission, &c., p. 230 (orig. fol.). The other two patriarchal families ...
— To The Gold Coast for Gold, Vol. II - A Personal Narrative • Richard Francis Burton and Verney Lovett Cameron

... occasion of a dance, or the feast known as a "Potlatch." The Thlinkits are not hardy, nor, as a rule, long-lived, and diseases due to drink and dissipation are rapidly thinning them out. Shamanism exists here, but not to such an extent as amongst the Siberian races, and the totem poles, which are met with at every turn in Wrangell, are not objects of worship, but are used apparently for a heraldic purpose. Some of the ancient war canoes of this tribe are still in existence, ...
— From Paris to New York by Land • Harry de Windt

... determine the meaning of the picture, but the captive comprehended it at once. It was the pride of Tayoga that he was of the clan of the Bear, of the nation Onondaga, of the great League of the Hodenosaunee, and here upon the arrows was his totem or sign of the Bear. It was a message and Robert knew that it was meant for him. Had ever a man a more faithful comrade? The Onondaga was still following in the hope of making a rescue, and he would follow as long ...
— The Masters of the Peaks - A Story of the Great North Woods • Joseph A. Altsheler

... sympathetic magic more systematically carried into practice for the maintenance of the food supply than in the barren regions of Central Australia. Here the tribes are divided into a number of totem clans, each of which is charged with the duty of multiplying their totem for the good of the community by means of magical ceremonies. Most of the totems are edible animals and plants, and the general result supposed to be accomplished ...
— The Golden Bough - A study of magic and religion • Sir James George Frazer

... should complain that there is no honor and fine living in all of this, we shall have to agree with him. But we can answer that by guile we have preserved our joys, and cleared our way out from the shadows of his big totem pole. If we have but little magnificence, we have as much as anybody can ever have who is hounded by the legal virtues. And if we may keep a little gaiety for life, by that much do we make him bite the dust. It isn't pretty, but ...
— Nonsenseorship • G. G. Putnam

... told Mr. Stewart that in their childhood this weird spot was held to be sacred to the Great Wolf, the totem of their tribe. Here, for more generations than any could count, their wise men had gathered about the mystic birch flame, in grave council of war. Here the tribe had assembled to seek strength of arm, hardness of heart, cunning of brain, for ...
— In the Valley • Harold Frederic

... tribes no man is permitted to marry a wife of the same clan-name or totem as himself. In India a Brahman is not allowed to marry a wife whose clan-name (her "cow-stall," as they say) is the same as his own; nor may a Chinaman take a wife of his own surname. ("Anthropology," p. 403.) "Throughout India the hill-tribes are divided into septs or clans, and a man ...
— The Antediluvian World • Ignatius Donnelly

... of Jean Fitzpatrick and their many excursions in the vicinity of the post. By devious zigzags and retracings, he suddenly found himself face to face with a ten-foot stump that Indians had long ago carved into a sort of totem, which had been left standing as a curiosity. There, the trail began, and he was able to make faster time, although all evidence of a footway were, of course, obliterated. As he went deeper into the forest, the wind became steadier and less changeable in direction, and ...
— The Wilderness Trail • Frank Williams



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



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