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obeah

[oh-bee-uh] /ˈoʊ bi ə/
noun
1.
a form of belief involving sorcery, practiced in parts of the West Indies, South America, the southern U.S., and Africa.
2.
a fetish or charm used in practicing obeah.
Also, obi.
Origin of obeah
1750-1760
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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for obeah
Historical Examples
  • obeah can be worked by either alone, and is not tied to the presence of the snake.

    West African studies Mary Henrietta Kingsley
  • And with a formless roar of killing-rage, Stern swung on the obeah, with the rifle.

    Darkness and Dawn George Allan England
  • The ceiba is the sacred tree of the negro, the temple of Jumbi, the proper house of obeah.

  • But already, with a chattering howl, the obeah was running forward.

    Darkness and Dawn George Allan England
  • Stern saw--and rejoiced in the sight--that the obeah's jaw hung surely broken, all awry.

    Darkness and Dawn George Allan England
  • obeah, on the other hand, kills only by poison—does not show the blood at all.

    West African studies Mary Henrietta Kingsley
  • But the obeah, with a whining plaint, spat away his tobacco-leaf.

    Darkness and Dawn George Allan England
  • The obeah man agreed to cure him, provided he received ten dollars for his pains.

  • Like the shade, it is frequently used to further the horrible purposes of the Voodoo and obeah forms of magic.

    The Astral Plane C. W. Leadbeater
  • Up he brought the automatic, till the bead lay fair upon the naked, muscular breast of the obeah.

    Darkness and Dawn George Allan England
British Dictionary definitions for obeah

obeah

/ˈəʊbɪə/
noun
1.
another word for obi2
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 obeah
n.

"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
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10
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