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 (svĕn-gä′lē, sfĕn-)
n. pl. Sven·ga·lis
A person who manipulates or controls another, especially by force of personality for malicious purposes.

[After Svengali, , the hypnotist villain in the novel Trilby by George du Maurier.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Psychology) a person who controls another's mind, usually with sinister intentions
[after a character in George Du Maurier's novel Trilby (1894)]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(svɛnˈgɑ li, sfɛn-)

a person who completely dominates another, usu. with selfish or evil motives.
[1940–45; after the evil hypnotist of the same name in the novel Trilby (1894) by German. Du Maurier]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Svengali - someone (usually maleficent) who tries to persuade or force another person to do his bidding
persuader, inducer - someone who tries to persuade or induce or lead on
2.Svengali - the musician in a novel by George du Maurier who controls Trilby's singing hypnotically
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
I Who Have Nothing, You Only Live Twice and I will Survive are among songs dragged into the 21st century by studio svengalis such as North x Northwest, whose track record includes Pet Shop Boys, Robbie Williams and Peter Gabriel.
They are being backed by the pop Svengalis who propelled N-Sync and The Backstreet Boys to fame and fortune.
She added: ``I arrived at a different time -before the time of Svengalis holding talent searches; finding a girl that looks right and can carry a tune and then figuring a way to market her.''
The show that spawned them was a cynical attempt by rich Svengalis to get even richer by breaking the hearts of thousands of wannabe fame-seekers while turning a handful of them into out-of-their-depth, non-unionised scabs who stole real actors' jobs.
Rhode Island Law Press (Barrington, RI) has published the fourth annual edition of Kendall Svengalis' guide to legal information.
The band - discovered by the same pop svengalis who launched The Spice girls - reckon they've got plenty of streetwise swagger and attitude.
The new bankruptcy environment requires executives of debtor companies to become instant Svengalis. Indeed, a CEO is called on to work magic, but in the process he must also become part operations manager, part politician, part psychologist and part diplomat.
Like Dr Jekyll, who leads a double life through the evil Hyde, Svengali cannot find a way of expressing one side of his nature-- he cannot sing.
The mesmeric scenes in Trilby, in which both Trilby and Svengali are agents, are suggestive about the ways in which Trilby is taking on the masculine trait of power and authority.
Braid was the clever, but in this instance reputable Svengali (185).
Svengali n [Svengali, villainous hypnotist in the novel Trilby (1894) by George du Maurier]: a person who manipulates or exerts excessive control over another
George Du Maurier's novel Trilby, in which Svengali holds forth, was a spectacular best seller, breaking all records, both in England and the United States, when it was published in 1894, and it remained widely popular for generations.