medicine man

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Probably a calque of Ojibwe mashkikiiwinini (doctor), from mashkiki (medicine) + inini (man).

Noun[edit]

medicine man (plural medicine men)

  1. A Native American shamanistic healer. The term is also used to refer to traditional healers of other indigenous peoples.
    • 1855, Henry Wadworth Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha, XIV,[1]
      And the Jossakeeds, the Prophets,
      The Wabenos, the Magicians,
      And the Medicine-men, the Medas,
      Painted upon bark and deer-skin
      Figures for the songs they chanted
    • 1891, W. Fletcher Johnson, Life of Sitting Bull and History of the Indian War of 1890-’91, Edgewood Publishing Co., p. 41,[2]
      Sitting Bull is commonly thought of as a warrior. In point of fact he was not. He was a “medicine man;” which means that he included within himself the three professions of the priesthood, medicine and law.
    • 1958, Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, London: William Heinemann, Chapter 9,
      After the death of Ekwefi's second child, Okonkwo had gone to a medicine man, who was also a diviner of the Afa Oracle, to enquire what was amiss.

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