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talisman (TAL-is-man, -iz-) noun

1. An object, such as a stone, believed to have occult powers to keep evil away and bring good fortune to its wearer.

2. Anything that has magical powers and brings miraculous effects.

[From French or Spanish, from Arabic tilasm, from Greek telesma (consecration) from telein (to consecrate or complete) from telos, result.]

"Drivers clutching this (AAA) card as a talisman against automotive calamity should know that, in doing so, they lend support to an agenda in favor of road building, against pollution control and even auto-safety measures - that helps deepen the automotive calamity afflicting the nation as a whole."
Ken Silverstein, Smitten With a Club, Harper's Magazine (New York), May 2002.

This week's theme: Words having origins in Arabic


I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a hell of a lot more if I had been understood. -Clarence Darrow, lawyer and author (1857-1938)

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