To"tem(?), n. [Massachusetts Indian wutohtimoin that to which a person or place belongs.] 1. 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 postsLongfellow.
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.Bagehot.
2. Anything which serves as a venerated or mystic symbol or emblem.
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