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mumbo jumbo

[muhm-boh juhm-boh] /ˈmʌm boʊ ˈdʒʌm boʊ/
noun, plural mumbo jumbos.
1.
meaningless incantation or ritual.
2.
senseless or pretentious language, usually designed to obscure an issue, confuse a listener, or the like.
3.
an object of superstitious awe or reverence.
4.
(initial capital letters) the guardian of western Sudan villages symbolized by a masked man who combats evil and punishes women for breaches of tribal laws.
Origin
1730-1740
1730-40; of disputed orig.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for mumbo jumbo

mumbo jumbo

/ˈmʌmbəʊ/
noun (pl) mumbo jumbos
1.
foolish religious reverence, ritual, or incantation
2.
meaningless or unnecessarily complicated language
3.
an object of superstitious awe or reverence
Word Origin
C18: probably from Mandingo mama dyumbo, name of a tribal god
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 mumbo jumbo
mumbo jumbo
1738, name of an idol supposedly worshipped by certain tribes in Africa; said to be a corruption of words in Mandingo (one version is Mama Dyumbo), but no likely source has been found in the languages of the Niger region, to which the original accounts relate. Meaning "big, empty talk" is attested from 1896.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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