Totem

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.
[1913 Webster]

And they painted on the grave posts
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.
Longfellow.
[1913 Webster]

The totem, the clan deity, the beast or bird who in some supernatural way attends to the clan and watches over it.
Bagehot.
[1913 Webster]

2. Anything which serves as a venerated or mystic symbol or emblem.
[PJC]

 

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Wed 12th December 2018