- (especially among certain tribal peoples) a person who acts as intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, using magic to cure illness, foretell the future, control spiritual forces, etc.
- a priest of shamanism
- a medicine man of a similar religion, esp among certain tribes of North American Indians
n.1690s, “priest of the Ural-Altaic peoples,” probably via German Schamane, from Russian sha’man, from Tungus saman, which is perhaps from Chinese sha men “Buddhist monk,” from Prakrit samaya-, from Sanskrit sramana-s “Buddhist ascetic” [OED]. Related: Shamanic.