1 of 2

noun (1)

mo·​jo ˈmō-(ˌ)jō How to pronounce mojo (audio)
plural mojos
: a magic spell, hex, or charm
A mojo, by the way, is a kind of magic charm; Elroi wears one around his neck …Edith Oliver
Ron told me he thought that someone had put a mojo on Jose—that he was hexed …Benson Deitz
… a cloth pouch worn on a string around the neck for holding mojos and small change.Shelby Foote
… a … Brazilian shaman who carries a mojo bagVideo Review
also : magic, hoodoo
In Cajun country, they call it mojo—magic as mysterious as it is spiritual. Sandra Lee
often used with the
… a kind of colorful magic known as the mojoHenry Louis Gates, Jr.
: a seemingly supernatural power, influence, or ability
Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black" lost its mojo in the third season, as the plots—many of them silly—petered out.Matthew Gilbert
Whether they have several hours or only a few minutes to work their mojo, filmmakers need to make the most of every moment.Jason Anderson
But Tennessee comes out on top with a defense that appears vastly improved the last couple weeks, boosting an offense that's found its mojo too.Ben Arthur


2 of 2

noun (2)

mo·​jo ˈmō-ˌhō How to pronounce mojo (audio)
plural mojos
: a sauce, marinade, or seasoning that is usually composed primarily of olive oil, garlic, citrus juice, and spices (such as black pepper and cumin)
… crisp beef shreds … served with the classic Cuban mojo, a sauce made with citrus fruits, garlic and olive oil …Alan Kellogg
… the Cuban mojo, made with crushed garlic, olive oil, maybe oregano, and citrus juice, most often bitter orange.Dan Nosowitz
The "Let it Marinade" collection has five mojos and sauces to help "take meat flavors" to a new "Cuban-inspired level."Stephen Fries
On the afternoon of Effe Café's first anniversary in a Cooper City gas station last month, lunch-rush customers ordered mojo pork sandwiches …Phillip Valys

Examples of mojo in a Sentence

Noun (1) He's been suffering from incredibly bad mojo lately. The team has lost its mojo. We need to get our mojos working again.
Recent Examples on the Web
On Wednesday’s episode of New Heights with Jason and Travis Kelce, the two brothers discussed how Swift's attendance has helped improve Travis’ mojo. Michelle Lee, Peoplemag, 25 Oct. 2023 All the while, though, Hamas was plotting a massive assault that would end any perception in Israel, and beyond, that the Islamic Resistance had lost its strategic mojo. Sam Kiley, CNN, 14 Oct. 2023 The history surrounding the pairing of Friday and the number 13 is murky at best — some historians point to a Norse myth involving the trickster god Loki, others say the 13 guests at the Last Supper and Jesus’s crucifixion on a Friday helped fuel the bad mojo. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2023 But after going an NFL-record 11-0 in one-score games during the 2022 regular season, the Vikings ran out of that late-game mojo. Dave Campbell,, 10 Sep. 2023 What Jalali’s scuffed gem of a film really has in common with Jarmusch’s tales of hipsters and happy wanderers is the sincerity that peeks out right below his placid surfaces and downtown-irony mojo. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 1 Sep. 2023 But this hasn’t happened yet, possibly because Guadagnino needs live action to get his mojo working. Nick Vivarelli, Variety, 8 Sep. 2023 One of them gets too close and begins to make his life hell, and the kid has to utilize all his supernatural mojo to save his loved ones. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 8 Sep. 2023 The Tigers should prove as a good test to see if Severino has recaptured his mojo or just had one good outing. Andrew Birkle, Detroit Free Press, 28 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Noun (1)

probably of African origin; akin to Fulani moco'o medicine man

Noun (2)

borrowed from Cuban Spanish, noun derivative of Spanish mojar "to make wet, moisten," going back to Vulgar Latin *molliāre — more at moil entry 1

Note: Attestations of Spanish mojo in approximately the sense of the definition go back to at least the early twentieth century, to judge from the following passage: "Un puerco ahumado con hojas de guayaba, con plátano verde y mojo de naranja agria, es el alimento predilecto del guajiro criollo." (A. Pompeyo, "Protesta de un cuerdo," Cuba y América, revista illustrada, vol. 14, no. 1, January 3, 1904, p. 17; "A hog cooked [literally, smoked] with guava leaves, green plantain and mojo of sour orange is the favorite dish of the native-born countryman.") The sauce is described earlier without inclusion of citrus in an account of Cuba by the American Samuel Hazard: "El aporreado is made of half raw meat, dressed with water, vinegar, salt, etc., which operation is known as perdigar (or stewing in an earthen pan); then mashed and stirred together it is fried slightly in a sauce (mojo) of lard, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and peppers" (Cuba with Pen and Pencil, Hartford CT, 1871, pp. 537-38). A similar description can be found in the anonymous cookbook El cocinero de los enfermos, convalecientes y desganados (Havana, 1862): "… el mojo, que es una fritura de tomates, cebollas, ajíes dulces con manteca y sal" (p. 41; "mojo, which is a fried mix of tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers with lard and salt"). See also mojito.

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1923, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1983, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mojo was in 1923

Dictionary Entries Near mojo

Cite this Entry

“Mojo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


mo·​jo ˈmō-jō How to pronounce mojo (audio)
plural mojoes or mojos
: a magic spell, hex, or charm
also : magical power


probably of African origin

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!