Definition of animism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈanəˌmizəm/


1The attribution of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena.
Example sentences
  • More appropriately, in animism, these objects have never been ‘inanimate’ - they are always already ‘possessed’.
  • My understanding is that animism does not start from the premise that objects are inanimate.
  • And animism is one of the first things I think of when you describe this world where there are spirits in everything, and they're communicating with each other, and you have to go to an expert to mediate between you and them.
2The belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universe.
Example sentences
  • Shamanism is the ancient religion of animism and nature-spirit worship and its origins in Korea are lost in antiquity.
  • And even though nowhere in Buddhist scripture is there any mention of any kind of ghosts or animism, a strong belief in magic still remains.
  • The two main religions are Roman Catholicism and Voudou, or Voodoo, a mixture of African animism (belief in spirits and nature) and Christianity.



Pronunciation: /ˈanəməst/
Example sentences
  • The census officers kept complaining that it was nearly impossible for them to decide who was an animist and who was a Hindu, since all worshipped God in many forms.
  • Well, I would say to this that I am very much an animist, and my experience of working with spirits - be they spirits of places, local area networks, or behavioural memes, indicates to me at least, that it is do-able to varying degrees.
  • Muslims as well as Christians have strict views on sexual conduct, and even animists are expressing their desire to restore older mores.


Pronunciation: /ˌanəˈmistik/
Example sentences
  • The religion of the mudang was polytheistic and somewhat animistic.
  • Vedic Invocations, which are deemed animistic and crudely pagan by many scholars, merely invoke God through his attributes and functions.
  • It is said to have begun before the introduction of Buddhism, when the people of ancient Tibet observed animistic forms of religion and used the foodstuffs they produced as offerings to their gods.


Mid 19th century: from Latin anima 'life, soul' + -ism.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: an·i·mism

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