obeah

noun, often capitalized
obe·​ah | \ ˈō-bē-ə How to pronounce obeah (audio) \
variants: or less commonly obi \ ˈō-​bē How to pronounce obi (audio) \

Definition of obeah

: a system of belief among blacks 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

First Known Use of obeah

circa 1711, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for obeah

of African origin; akin to Ibo díbìà folk healer

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The first known use of obeah was circa 1711

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Cite this Entry

“Obeah.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obeah. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on obeah

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obeah

Nglish: Translation of obeah for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about obeah

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