from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A storyteller in western Africa who perpetuates the oral tradition and history of a village or family.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun West African storyteller who passes on oral traditions, a wandering musician and poet.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a storyteller in West Africa; perpetuates the oral traditions of a family or village


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

[French, alteration of guiriot, perhaps ultimately from Portuguese criado, domestic servant, from Latin creātus, one brought up or trained, from past participle of creāre, to produce, bring up; see create.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French griot.


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  • "... an old man entered the room, stooped over a black cane, moving with dignity. ... It was made clear that he was the griot, or historan, of the Kamara house.... 'He can explain to you what he knows of the slave trade,' said Madame Modu. The room fell silent.... Speaking through an interpreter, in Temne, he began by saying that the slave business was finished and that therefore it should not be spoken about. He turned to Chief Modu, asked permission to describe what he knew, and the chief assented with a wave. Hand on cane, the historian launched a monologue that began with the 1500s and the arrival of a few Portuguese sailors on the African coast...."

    —Edward Ball, Slaves in the Family (NY: Ballantine Books, 1998), 439

    October 13, 2009

  • ...the ngomi, a plucked lute made from a combinaton of wood or calabash and goatskin, used by griots in northwest Africa...

    March 19, 2010