See more synonyms for voodoo on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural voo·doos.
  1. Also vodun. a polytheistic religion practiced chiefly by West Indians, deriving principally from African cult worship and containing elements borrowed from the Catholic religion.
  2. a person who practices this religion.
  3. a fetish or other object of voodoo worship.
  4. a group of magical and ecstatic rites associated with voodoo.
  5. (not in technical use) black magic; sorcery.
  1. of, pertaining to, associated with, or practicing voodoo.
  2. Informal. characterized by deceptively simple, almost as if magical, solutions or ideas: voodoo economics.
verb (used with object), voo·dooed, voo·doo·ing.
  1. to affect by voodoo sorcery.

Origin of voodoo

1810–20, Americanism; < Louisiana French, earlier vandoux, vandoo < a West African source perhaps akin to Ewe vodũ demon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for voodoo


noun plural -doos
  1. Also called: voodooism a religious cult involving witchcraft and communication by trance with ancestors and animistic deities, common in Haiti and other Caribbean islands
  2. a person who practises voodoo
  3. a charm, spell, or fetish involved in voodoo worship and ritual
  1. relating to or associated with voodoo
verb -doos, -dooing or -dooed
  1. (tr) to affect by or as if by the power of voodoo
Derived Formsvoodooist, nounvoodooistic, adjective

Word Origin for voodoo

C19: from Louisiana French voudou, ultimately of West African origin; compare Ewe vodu guardian spirit
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 voodoo

religious witchcraft of Haiti and Southern U.S., ultimately of African origin, 1850, from Louisiana French voudou, from a W.African language (e.g. Ewe and Fon vodu "spirit, demon, deity," also Vandoo, supposedly the name of an African deity, from a language of Dahomey). Cf. vodun "fetish connected with snake worship in Dahomey," said to be from vo "to be afraid," or vo "harmful." The verb is attested from 1880.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

voodoo in Culture


A form of animism (see also animism) involving trances and other rituals. Communication with the dead is a principal feature of voodoo. It is most common in the nations of the Caribbean Sea, especially Haiti, where people sometimes mingle voodoo and Christian practices.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.