windigo

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Ojibwe wiindigoo. Compare Cree wihtikow/ᐃᐧᐦᑎᑯᐤ (greedy person; cannibal; giant man-eating monster).

Noun[edit]

windigo (countable and uncountable, plural windigo or windigos)

  1. (mythology) A malevolent, violent, cannibal spirit found in Anishinaabe, Ojibwe, and Cree mythology, which inhabits the body of a living person and possesses him or her to commit murder.
    • 2004: Michael Jensen, Firelands
      Once there, however, I found no signs indicating the way John and the wendigo might have gone.
  2. A psychological condition specific to some Native American groups, in which a person (in fever-induced delusions) believes that he or she is possessed by a cannibalistic wendigo spirit, or in which society hysterically believes a person to be so possessed.
    • 1985: Ronald C. Simons, Charles Campbell Hughes, Culture-Bound Syndromes: Folk Illnesses of Psychiatric and Anthropological Interest
      Windigo psychosis” has been the most celebrated culture trait of the Northern Algonkian peoples for almost half a century.

Synonyms[edit]