Definition of apotropaic in English:


Line breaks: apo|tro¦paic
Pronunciation: /ˌapətrəˈpeɪɪk


Supposedly having the power to avert evil influences or bad luck: apotropaic statues
More example sentences
  • Inasmuch as literary wounds take on the role of ‘talking cures,’ so too is storytelling apotropaic: it has the power to avert evil influence or ill luck.
  • These names are considered to have apotropaic power to protect the new-born from the evil eye.
  • The apotropaic powers of Arabic letters, phrases, verses, and writing themselves are central to Mouride belief systems and, indeed, Sufi mysticism more generally.


late 19th century: from Greek apotropaios 'averting evil', from apotrepein 'turn away or from' + -ic.



More example sentences
  • The griffins at the ends of the sarcophagus are mythical monsters that preside apotropaically as guardians over the deceased.
  • An amulet shaped like a turtle, a creature of darkness, took the form of the very entity its wearer wished to avoid and thus acted apotropaically.
  • Amulets of flies appear from the earliest Dynasties, worn either apotropaically, to ward off the attentions of the insect by its amuletic image, or to endow its wearer by sympathetic magic with the insect's fertility since flies are remarkable for the huge numbers in which they breed.

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