obe·​ah ˈō-bē-ə How to pronounce obeah (audio)
variants or less commonly obi
often capitalized
: a system of belief among Black people chiefly of the British West Indies and the Guianas that is characterized by the use of magic ritual to ward off misfortune or to cause harm

Examples of obeah in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Two Black obeah men—spiritualists—got the credit for curing her. Ishion Hutchinson, The New Yorker, 5 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'obeah.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


of African origin; akin to Ibo díbìà folk healer

First Known Use

circa 1711, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of obeah was circa 1711

Dictionary Entries Near obeah

Cite this Entry

“Obeah.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obeah. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

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