noun, plural cha·ris·ma·ta [kuh–riz-muh-tuh] /kəˈrɪz mə tə/.
- Theology. a divinely conferred gift or power.
- a spiritual power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people.
- the special virtue of an office, function, position, etc., that confers or is thought to confer on the person holding it an unusual ability for leadership, worthiness of veneration, or the like.
- a special personal quality or power of an individual making him capable of influencing or inspiring large numbers of people
- a quality inherent in a thing which inspires great enthusiasm and devotion
- Christianity a divinely bestowed power or talent
“gift of leadership, power of authority,” c.1930, from German, used in this sense by Max Weber (1864-1920) in “Wirtschaft u. Gesellschaft” (1922), from Greek kharisma “favor, divine gift,” from kharizesthai “to show favor to,” from kharis “grace, beauty, kindness” (Charis was the name of one of the three attendants of Aphrodite) related to khairein “to rejoice at,” from PIE root *gher- “to desire, like” (see hortatory). More mundane sense of “personal charm” recorded by 1959.
Earlier, the word had been used in English with a sense of “grace, talent from God” (1875), directly from Latinized Greek; and in the form charism (plural charismata) it is attested with this sense in English from 1640s. Middle English, meanwhile, had karisme “spiritual gift, divine grace” (c.1500).
Extraordinary power and appeal of personality; natural ability to inspire a large following.