The Golden Bough | Study Guide

James George Frazer

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The Golden Bough | Glossary


animism: (n) the belief that spirits reside in nonliving objects, particularly objects in nature, and in natural phenomena

anthropomorphize: (v) to assign human traits to nonhuman beings, objects, or phenomena

archetype: (n) a character that serves as a universal model for a type of person (the "healer" is an example of a basic archetype; specific examples of healers include doctors, medicine men, and so on)

consort: (n) the spouse or companion of a deity or royal person

cultural anthropology: (n) the scientific study of human culture and its development; cultural anthropologists study many aspects of a culture, such as law, politics, religion, art, and language

deity: (n) a god or goddess

effigy: (n) a figure or image (often a doll or puppet) that looks like a person or animal

grove: (n) a group of trees

incarnate: (adj) alive in a human body

personify: (v) to represent a concept in human form or as having human qualities; some cultures personified death as a straw figure they paraded through the village and then burned

propitiate: (v) to appease or try to please someone (often someone who is angry); people in ancient times often made offerings to propitiate the gods

shade: (n) a ghost or spirit, usually of a particular person

shrine: (n) a place or object dedicated to a religious figure (such as a deity or saint) or to the dead

syncretism: (n) the merging of two or more different beliefs or practices (often religious or cultural) into one; the ancient Romans were well known for syncretism, absorbing many of the deities and practices of the people they conquered, as were the Christians, who adapted pagan rituals for their own purposes

taboo: (adj) forbidden; banned from use or contact

underworld: (n) in classical mythology, the underground land of the dead

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