- a form of belief involving sorcery, practiced in parts of the West Indies, South America, the southern U.S., and Africa.
- a fetish or charm used in practicing obeah.
Origin of obeah
1750–60; compare Gullah, Jamaican English, Guyanan English, Sranan óbia magic, charm; < a West African language, though precise source unclear; compare Twi ɔ-bayifó sorcerer (compound with -fo person), Igbo díbìà folk healer (compound with dí- expert in)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Related Wordswitchcraft, abracadabra, necromancy, enchantment, hoodoo, spell, sorcery, divination, alchemy, charm, hocus-pocus, jinx, devilry, witchery, obeah, wizardry, obi, conjuring
Examples from the Web for obeah
But the obeah, with a whining plaint, spat away his tobacco-leaf.
And with a formless roar of killing-rage, Stern swung on the obeah, with the rifle.
But already, with a chattering howl, the obeah was running forward.
Obeah, on the other hand, kills only by poison—does not show the blood at all.
Obeah can be worked by either alone, and is not tied to the presence of the snake.
- another word for obi 2
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 obeah
"sorcery, witchcraft" among blacks in Africa and the W.Indies, 1760, from a West African word, e.g. Efik (southern Nigeria) ubio "a thing or mixture left as a charm to cause sickness or death," Twi ebayifo "witch, wizard, sorcerer."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper