Mumbo Jumbo Definition

Among certain West African tribes, an idol or god believed to protect the people from evil and terrorize the women into subjection.
Webster's New World
Language or ritualistic activity intended to confuse.
American Heritage
Webster's New World
Meaningless ritual.
Webster's New World
An object believed to have supernatural powers; a fetish.
American Heritage

Other Word Forms of Mumbo Jumbo


mumbo jumbo
mumbo jumbos

Origin of Mumbo Jumbo

  • From 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

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • 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".

    From Wiktionary

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mumbo jumbo