1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Talisman

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TALISMAN, a magical charm. The word is often used as a term synonymous with amulet (q.v.), but strictly should be applied to an inanimate object which is supposed to possess a supernatural capacity of conferring benefits or powers, an amulet being that which protects or wards off evil (see Magic). The most common form which the talisman took in medieval or later times was that of a disk of metal or stone engraved with astrological figures, or with magical formulae, of which Abraxas (q.v.) and Abracadabra (q.v.) are the most familiar. The word is derived through the Spanish through Arab. ṭilsamān, plural of ṭilsam, an adaptation of Gr. τέλεσμα, payment. outlay (from τελεῖν, to accomplish), used in Late Gr. of an initiation or mystery and in Med. Gr. of a charm.