from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A member of a people inhabiting southern Nigeria.
  • n. The Niger-Congo language of the Efik people, closely related to Ibibio.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • At the time in the workshop, I was writing a story about an Efik woman in Nigeria who learned to fly.


  • For me as a Nigerian-American of Krio, Efik and Igbo heritage.

    Conversation with my friend

  • Take as an instance, the Efik race, or people of Old Calabar, some 6,000 wretched remnants of a once-powerful tribe.

    Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo

  • Circumcision, even on the eighth day as amongst the Efik of the old Calabar River; but this is a familiar custom borrowed from Egypt by the Semites; it is done in a multitude of ways, which are limited only by necessity; the resemblance of the Mpongwe rite to that of the Jews, though remarkable, is purely accidental.

    Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo

  • At any one time during the later years of the slave trade, the Efik lands were crowded with newly acquired slaves, most of them thoroughly demoralized.

    The Serpent and the Rainbow

  • The prevailing winds and currents forced all ships returning to Europe or the Americas from the Ivory and Gold Coasts to pass eastward toward the Slave Coast and close to the shores of Efik lands.

    The Serpent and the Rainbow

  • Originally fishermen, the Efik were ideally situated near the estuary of the Niger River to take advantage of the bitter competition for slaves.

    The Serpent and the Rainbow

  • As avaricious middlemen soon equipped with European arms, the Efik came to control the entire trade with the hinterland; their name, in fact, is derived from an Ibibio-Efik word meaning “oppress,” a name received from those neighboring tribes on the lower Calabar and Cross rivers whom the Efik prevented from establishing direct contact with the white traders.

    The Serpent and the Rainbow

  • To keep order and discipline, the Efik depended on the agents and executioners of the Egbo.

    The Serpent and the Rainbow

  • As the single most important arbiter of culture, the West African secret societies had as a vital function the administration of justice, and as in the case of the leopard society among the Efik of Old Calabar, their tribunals delivered a verdict based on the outcome of the poison ordeal.

    The Serpent and the Rainbow


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