from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A ghost or spirit.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

A Caribbean patois word, of West African origin


  • As the negroes are extremely superstitious, and very much afraid of ghosts (whom they call the duppy), I rather wonder at their choosing-to have their dead buried in their gardens; but I understand their argument to be, that they need only fear the duppies of their enemies, but have nothing to apprehend from those after death who loved them in their lifetime; but the duppies of their adversaries are very alarming beings, equally powerful by day as by night, and are not only spiritually terrific, but can give very hard substantial knocks on the pate, whenever they see fit occasion, and can find a good opportunity.

    Journal of a Residence among the Negroes in the West Indies

  • For those unfamiliar with Jamaican slang, a duppy is a ghost and the main character finds himself a duppy as he dies on the first page.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • A "duppy" in Jamaican folklore is a spirit creature, usually with bad intent.

    Archive 2007-02-01

  • Blown ridin more hard from thrash to down tempo with anti-duppy weapons of sonic death.

    Lawrence Ytzhak Braithwaite, 1963-2008

  • I returned the coin to Noah, assuring him that I had no further need of it, and he went away well pleased, assured of the protection of the white man's duppy -- the token of the good spirits which he venerates as much as he fears the bugaboos.

    Humphrey Bold A Story of the Times of Benbow

  • "Yah, yah," he roared, "me no 'fraid ob shark; I'se tink him ider one duppy or de debbil, for suah, when um touch me on de shin-bone!"

    The White Squall A Story of the Sargasso Sea

  • This aunt was an Obeah witch, the duppy, or devil ghost, that was her familiar, appearing as a great black dog that she called Tiger.

    Myths & Legends of our New Possessions & Protectorate

  • Everybody fears the jumbie, or evil spirit that walks the night; and the duppy, the rolling calf, the ghost of the murdered one; all pray that they may never meet the diablesse, the beautiful negress with glittering eyes, who passes silently through fields where people are at work, and smiling on any one of them compels him to follow her, -- where?

    Myths & Legends of our New Possessions & Protectorate

  • But although my idea of the poison was scouted, still the mention of the burying-ground suggested another cause for his illness to the negroes, and they had no sort of doubt, that in passing through the burying-ground he had been struck down by the duppy of a white person not long deceased, whom he had formerly offended, and that these repeated fainting-fits were the consequence of that ghostly blow.

    Journal of a Residence among the Negroes in the West Indies

  • It seems to be an indispensable requisite for a Nancy-story, that it should contain a witch or a duppy, or in short, some marvellous personage or other. it is a kind of "piece a machines."

    Journal of a Residence among the Negroes in the West Indies


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  • "Don't know about duppies, Keisha. Don't want to know about them."

    NW by Zadie Smith

    October 7, 2012

  • "Duppy is a Jamaican Patois word of Northwest African origin meaning ghost or spirit. Much of Caribbean folklore revolves around duppies. Duppies are generally regarded as malevolent spirits. They are said to come out and haunt people at night mostly, and people from the islands claim Johanna to have seen them. The 'Rolling Calf', 'Three footed horse' or 'Old Higue' are examples of the more malicious spirits.

    In many of the islands of the Lesser Antilles, duppies are known as jumbies."

    --Wikipedia (

    March 5, 2012

  • A West Indian ghost.

    May 1, 2008