- among certain West African tribes, an idol or god believed to protect the people from evil and terrorize the women into subjection
- meaningless ritual
Origin of mumbo-jumboof African origin, originally : meaning, form, and amp; dialect uncertain
nounpl. mum·bo jum·bos or mum·bo-jum·bos
- Unintelligible or incomprehensible language; gibberish.
- Language or ritualistic activity intended to confuse.
- A complicated or obscure ritual.
- An object believed to have supernatural powers; a fetish.
Origin of mumbo jumboFrom Mumbo-Jumbo, masked dancer described in 18th-century European accounts of the Mandinka, probably from Mandinka maamajomboo, masked dancer with prophetic powers : maama, term of address for a masked dancer + jomboo, ceremony of opening or first use.
- (historical) A deity or other supernatural being said to have been worshipped by certain West African peoples; an idol.
- (religion) Any object of superstition; religious words and/or actions which are seen as superstitious or fraudulent.
- Rev. Quack's healing services are little more than mumbo jumbo.
- Any confusing or meaningless speech; nonsense, gibberish.
- Football lingo is mumbo jumbo to me.
- There were a bunch of foreigners speaking their Mumbo Jumbo clustered ahead of me at Customs.
Probably from Mandinka maamajomboo (“mask; masked dancer"). What might be possible as well is the occurance of l-vocalization in the words "mumble" and "jumble".
- Alternative spelling of mumbo jumbo.