talisman, charm, amulet

Discussion in 'English Only' started by celine713, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. celine713 Senior Member

    Is there any shades of difference between them? Is any one of them archaic and out of use? Thanks!
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Immediate reactions:
    Charm - very common, generally recognised, everyone knows what a charm is;
    Talisman - a lot less common, perhaps somewhat literary;
    Amulet - uncommon, archaeological.

    A rabbit's foot could be a charm, might possibly be a talisman, but is definitely not an amulet.
  3. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    Amulet - any magical or protective item of jewelry.

    Talisman - any portable object with magical properties.

    Charm - an ornamental piece of jewelry which is attached to a bracelet, necklace, or earring.
  4. celine713 Senior Member

    Hi, panjandrum, thanks for your hint, here is a link that might surprise you for it says:"
    A rabbit's foot is the foot of a rabbit. In American folklore, a rabbit's foot is carried as an amulet believed to bring good luck.
    Well, I thought they were all some attachments or accessories :D
  5. celine713 Senior Member

    Thanks River, look at what I have found,
    amulet: object worn, especially around the neck, as a charm against evil or injury.
    charm: An item worn for its supposed magical benefit, as in warding off evil; an amulet.
    talisman: An object marked with magic signs and believed to confer on its bearer supernatural powers or protection.

    So, to summarize, their shared meaning is an object that should be appended on in order to activate the magical power?
  6. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    There is a current use of the word "charm" that has nothing to do with magic. Women and girls in the U.S. collect "charms" - little figures or symbols - and have them added to a "charm bracelet." It is more an accumulation of symbols of favorite objects and it's a fashion accessory, not an amulet to ward off evil.

    They look like this: http://www.candbtreasures.com/pirate_charm_bracelete.JPG

    "Amulet" is not used often to describe fashion jewelry, but it can be, and not necessarily having anything to do with warding off evil. It does usually relate to an object that's similar in appearance to a magical amulet, though (or people's concept of what a magical amulet looks like).


    "Talisman", though, I've only heard used to mean a magical object, usually in fantasy novels or role-playing games.
  7. celine713 Senior Member

    Thank you very much it's clearer now!
  8. jesusguime Banned

    Is it the same to say "lucky charm," or "good luck charm" instead of "charm" in question? Thanks.
  9. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In what question?
    The first two are probably the same, but they are specific types of "charm" so you couldn't simply use them in all contexts to replace "charm".

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