[gree-oh, gree-oh, gree-ot]


a member of a hereditary caste among the peoples of western Africa whose function is to keep an oral history of the tribe or village and to entertain with stories, poems, songs, dances, etc.

Nearby words

  1. grinding-in,
  2. grindle,
  3. grindstone,
  4. gringa,
  5. gringo,
  6. grip,
  7. grip tape,
  8. gripe,
  9. gripe water,
  10. gripey

Origin of griot

1955–60; < French, earlier guiriot, perhaps ultimately < Portuguese criado domestic servant, altered in W African coastal creoles Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for griot



(in Western Africa) a member of a caste responsible for maintaining an oral record of tribal history in the form of music, poetry, and storytelling

Word Origin for griot

C20: from French guirot, perhaps from Portuguese criado domestic servant

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

Word Origin and History for griot


1820, from French griot (17c.), of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper