o·be·ah (ōbē-ə) also o·bi (ōbē)
n. pl. o·be·ahs also o·bis
1. A form of religious belief of African origin, involving sorcery and practiced in Jamaica, some other parts of the West Indies, and nearby tropical America.
2. An object, charm, or fetish used in the practice of this belief.
[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.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.