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

  • n. A form of religious belief of African origin, practiced in some parts of the West Indies, Jamaica, and nearby tropical America, involving sorcery.
  • n. An object, charm, or fetish used in the practice of this religion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A form of folk magic, medicine or witchcraft originating in Africa and practiced in parts of the Caribbean.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Same as obi.

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

  • n. (West Indies) followers of a religious system involving witchcraft and sorcery
  • n. a religious belief of African origin involving witchcraft and sorcery; practiced in parts of the West Indies and tropical Americas


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

Black and West Indian English, of West African origin; akin to Efik ubio, anything noxious, something put in the ground to cause sickness or death, bad omen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain. Apparently from a Caribbean creole, probably ultimately from a West African language. The OED points to Igbo abià ("knowledge, wisdom"), obìa ("doctor, healer").


  • British West Indies under that of "obeah," and which sometimes lead even to human sacrifices.

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  • It is believed the items were part of an "obeah" ritual done by a criminal defendant, who hoped for supernatural intervention that his court case would be dismissed.

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  • If Hinds was living in an area of the Caribbean where old folklore is alive and well, he might have thought that he was the target of an 'obeah' curse.

  • The slave owners were encouraged to insist on conversion of the slaves to Christianity as a way of de-popularizing the obeah religion.

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  • Does the inclusion of obeah as a real force in 18th century novels about slavery make them horror, or fantasy, or are the authors using an element of the spooky unknown in some sort of larger context?

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  • They were Jamaican ghosts who could be summoned from the grave and made to do the bidding of an obeah man.

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  • Crack was still the kinder-chanting sing-song thing you avoided on the sidewalk -- in order not to break your Momma's back -- and not an extended enchanted evening of white-rocked witchcraft inculcated by a dangerously ambitious Bad Lieutenant Colonel and teenage obeah men carrying divination rods that resembled AR-15's.

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  • A woman who claimed she could help another get pregnant by using obeah and took over $1.5 million in cash an jewellery to do so was yesterday jailed for one year when she appeared at the Vreed-en-Hoop Magistrate's Court.

    Archive 2008-02-01

  • Magistrate Fazil Azeez also fined Sharon Lall, who pleaded guilty to a charge of practicing obeah to defraud, $20,000.

    'Obeah' Woman's $Million Con

  • Thus, those who practised obeah, ‘necromancy’ or engaged in supernatural practices, are encouraged to continue to prey on their victims with impunity as they enrich themselves with unjust earnings.

    Archive 2008-06-01


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