February 27, 2013
talisman (noun)
\TAL-us-mun\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a ring or stone carved with symbols and believed to have magical powers : charm
How do you use it?
One of my favorite books is about a group of people hunting for an ancient talisman that will give one of them the power to rule the world.
Are you a word wiz?

"Talisman" has been an English word since the 1600s. What part of the world did the ultimate root of the word come from?

"Talisman" brings us back to the ancient Mediterranean world, coming ultimately from the Greek word "telos," meaning "end," and a related Greek verb meaning "to initiate into the mysteries." In the early Middle Ages, this verb gave rise to a Greek noun that was used to refer to special statues that were believed to protect a person or a city. The Greek word traveled into Arabic in the form of "tilsam," meaning "charm," which was used of little protective charms with verses from the Koran on them. From Arabic, the word found its way to several European languages, including English, in which it became "talisman."
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