evil eye

evil eye, principally Sicilian and Mesoamerican superstition, although it is known in other cultures. According to the Native American version, a person who stares fixedly at a pregnant woman or a child or who is too admiring or physically affectionate with children may produce a malicious effect on their lives, whether or not by intent. In rural Sicily any person or animal was considered vulnerable to the evil eye, and many individuals wore protective amulets or charms to nullify its effects.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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