[ oh-bee-uh ]
/ ˈoʊ bi ə /


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.
Also obi.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for obeah

British Dictionary definitions for obeah


/ (ˈəʊbɪə) /


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