Definition of hoodoo in English:



  • 1[mass noun] Voodoo or witchcraft.

    [as modifier] ‘a visit to a local hoodoo doctor’
    • ‘But curiosity gets the best of her, and Caroline opens the door to find a wealth of materials representing the old house's history of hoodoo, an ancient form of folk magic.’
    • ‘Yeah - there's a definite difference between voodoo and hoodoo.’
    • ‘I don't have much time to get too many ingredients together, so ideas for simple rituals/charms/hoodoo/candle burning things would be greatly appreciated.’
    • ‘In her book, Hurston tells how hoodoo practitioners in New Orleans introduced her to the diversity and intensity of diasporic energies.’
    • ‘I feel more than a little awkward using hoodoo stuff, to be honest, given the vast gulf between my own advantages and the bitterly oppressed state of its originators.’
    • ‘But while walking in a park in New Orleans a few days ago, I suddenly got the urge to drop a couple of bucks on what I thought would be a mildly amusing little black magic hoodoo voodoo palm reading.’
    • ‘My magic primarily involves relationships with deity and practical hoodoo (pins in dolls, roots and herbs, found objects, candle burning, etc…).’
    • ‘If anybody out there does hoodoo work or a related practice, then I'd be very interested in swapping notes.’
    • ‘There's a long history in hoodoo of visiting graves of prominent people, leaving a gift or payment, and asking for their aid.’
    • ‘There is a short feature on the difference between voodoo and hoodoo, which illuminates how one is an organized religion, and the other is a ritualistic practice of magic.’
    • ‘She's told that as long as she doesn't believe in hoodoo, it can't affect her.’
    • ‘Much of Reed's work touches, to one degree or another, on hoodoo.’
    • ‘But oh lord, Caroline quickly links a locked attic room with resident ghosts Papa Justify and Mama Cecile, and is quickly earmarked as a tasty sacrifice in one of the more antisocial hoodoo spells.’
    • ‘Under the auspices of the fellowship, Hurston was to travel to Florida and New Orleans to begin her research on African American folk tales and to scout out hoodoo practice.’
    • ‘It features stories with musicians, soldiers, vampires, hoodoo men and women, and just plain folks.’
    • ‘This sort of thing is not too far removed from hoodoo & rootwork, which is one of the most effective systems of sorcery I've encountered.’
    • ‘There's a tradition in hoodoo called ‘the sewn-up pocket’ which is where you sew up various items (roots, herbs, found objects) into the pocket of an item of clothing.’
    • ‘This is more about hoodoo/voodoo and other forms of black magic.’
    • ‘These aren't tied to a clear religious structure - they are more like hoodoo, perhaps?’
    • ‘To understand hoodoo curses and cures, she had to undergo harrowing initiation rituals, which she described in ‘Mules and Men’.’
    witchcraft, magic, black magic, sorcery, wizardry, devilry, voodoo, necromancy
    witchery, demonry, thaumaturgy, theurgy
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    1. 1.1[count noun]A run of bad luck associated with a person or activity.
      ‘when is this hoodoo going to end?’
      • ‘For those who believe in omens, York also had to contend with a hoodoo which hadn't allowed them to win there for years.’
      • ‘It results in the first Laois/Kildare final since 1946 when Laois won their last title and broke a Dublin hoodoo that had lasted for 22 years (and much longer in Croke Park).’
      • ‘But now the hoodoo that has blighted City all season has hit again.’
      • ‘Manager Terry Dolan is refusing to rest on his laurels after York City's 2-1 win at Leyton Orient boosted the team's survival hopes and ended a season-long hoodoo.’
      • ‘Indeed the win broke some United hoodoos - for instance in six attempts they had failed to beat Lurgan Celtic; they had never won under floodlights; and they had never before reached the Mid-Ulster Shield final.’
      • ‘It has taken six long months for Inverness to rid themselves of a home hoodoo but they finally did it yesterday and, in doing so, plunged Dunfermline even deeper into the relegation mire.’
      • ‘Chelsea can open up an eight-point lead over Arsenal - but first they must break a nine-year hoodoo.’
      • ‘The Bulls haven't beaten Saints in the cup since a second-round clash in 1980 and they never looked like breaking that hoodoo yesterday.’
      • ‘Indeed, the visitors looked anything but a side haunted by a hoodoo as they set about their task with relish.’
      • ‘Murphy knows he might need some divine intervention to end the hoodoo that has seen Leigh lose both their two previous Grand Finals as well as falling five times in six meetings with Salford this season.’
      • ‘They will also need to overcome a minor hoodoo - it will be the fourth time they have hosted a live Sky match, but so far they have yet to win one.’
    2. 1.2[count noun]A person or thing that brings or causes bad luck.
      • ‘He was a hoodoo to us last summer.’
      • ‘I have proved a hoodoo to more than one champion.’
  • 2North American A column or pinnacle of weathered rock.

    ‘a towering sandstone hoodoo’
    • ‘No vehicles are permitted here and there are no visitor services, so if you go, bring water and supplies, and plan to walk a mile and a half to the hoodoos.’
    • ‘The badlands are significant due to the plethora of fossils and dinosaur bones that have been recovered in the slowly eroding hoodoos, narrow valleys and bone-dry coulees.’
    • ‘The Paiute Indians thought that these hoodoos were humanlike creatures turned to stone by an angry coyote god.’
    • ‘While the 4,000 acres of high desert and hoodoos are hospitable to visitors in the fall and winter (the area is beloved by paleontologists), spring and summer can be downright nasty.’
    • ‘Ride and hike through mazes of magical hoodoos and pink twisted cliffs!’
    peak, needle, crag, tor, summit, top, mountaintop, crest, apex, tip, vertex
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  • 1 Bewitch.

    ‘she's hoodooed you’
    • ‘The person to be hoodooed is generally made aware that the hoodoo is 'set' for him, and the terror created in his mind by this knowledge is generally sufficient to cause him to fall sick.’
    • ‘If you go somewhere and think you will be hoodooed, always carry a piece of bread in your pocket.’
    • ‘He has been called upon to set aside a will because it is claimed the testator was hoodooed, and as a result changed his will.’
    cast a spell on, put a spell on, enchant
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    1. 1.1Bring bad luck to.
      ‘a fine player, but repeatedly hoodooed’


Late 19th century (originally US): apparently an alteration of voodoo. It originally denoted a person who practised voodoo, hence a hidden cause of bad luck ( hoodoo). hoodoo is apparently due to the resemblance of the rock column to a strange human form, often topped by an overhanging ‘hat’ of harder rock.