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Svengali

Line breaks: Sven|gali
Pronunciation: /svɛnˈɡɑːli
 
/

Definition of Svengali in English:

noun

A person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence on another, especially for a sinister purpose.
Example sentences
  • Hypnosis is not a sinister tool for Svengalis but a ‘gentle, effective and empowering therapy’.
  • They had better songs but more importantly they covered a broader age range, exhibiting a shrewdness lost on later generations of Svengalis.
  • Music Svengalis litter the music industry, but there's only one Anthony H Wilson.

Origin

early 20th century: the name of a musician in George du Maurier's novel Trilby (1894), who controls Trilby's stage singing hypnotically.

More
  • trilby from (late 19th century):

    Trilby was the heroine of George du Maurier's novel Trilby, published in 1894. In the stage version the Trilby character wore a soft felt hat with a narrow brim and indented crown, which was immediately dubbed a trilby. Trilby falls under the influence of a musician called Svengali, who trains her voice by hypnotizing her and makes her into a famous singer, although she had been tone-deaf before meeting him. A person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence on another is consequently sometimes called a Svengali.

Words that rhyme with Svengali

Bali, barley, Cali, Carly, Charlie, Dali, Diwali, finale, gnarly, Gurkhali, Kali, Kigali, Mali, Marley, marly, Pali, parley, snarly, Somali, tamale

Definition of Svengali in:

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