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[hoo-doo] /ˈhu du/
noun, plural hoodoos.
bad luck.
a person or thing that brings bad luck.
Geology. a pillar of rock, usually of fantastic shape, left by erosion.
verb (used with object), hoodooed, hoodooing.
to bring or cause bad luck to.
Origin of hoodoo
1870-75, Americanism; apparently var of voodoo Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hoodoo
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But Rockland had a pitcher who more than once proved a hoodoo for Camden.

    Frank Merriwell's Cruise Burt L. Standish
  • Well, if this hasn't been a hoodoo cruise from Boston, I don't know a thing!

    Frank Merriwell's Cruise Burt L. Standish
  • "Tell us a story about a hoodoo, Uncle Jonah," Hortense begged.

  • If it didn't go it was a hoodoo—a black shadow—and he wanted no more to do with it.

    Jennie Gerhardt Theodore Dreiser
  • There's got to be an end to this hoodoo business in my house.

    The Faith Healer William Vaughn Moody
  • They told us in New Orleans that this red lure was a hoodoo.

    The Red Lure Roy J. Snell
  • Lock No. 13 was true to its hoodoo, and gave us some trouble.

    The houseboat book William F. Waugh
  • One word from you to the money gang takes the hoodoo off us.

    The Landloper Holman Day
  • Carl thought that was their hoodoo day, but he had occasion to change his mind.

    Motor Matt's Mystery Stanley R. Matthews
British Dictionary definitions for hoodoo


noun (pl) -doos
a variant of voodoo
(informal) a person or thing that brings bad luck
(informal) bad luck
(in the western US and Canada) a strangely shaped column of rock
verb -doos, -dooing, -dooed
(transitive) (informal) to bring bad luck to
Derived Forms
hoodooism, noun
Word Origin
C19: variant of voodoo
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hoodoo

"one who practices voodoo," 1870, American English, probably an alteration of voodoo. Meaning "something that causes or brings bad luck" is attested from 1880.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hoodoo



A person or thing that brings bad luck; jinx: A mascot and a hoodoo, meaning one who brings ill fortune, are terms invented in the theater

[1882+; said to be an alteration of voodoo]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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