Definition of marabout in English:



  • 1A Muslim holy man or hermit, especially in North Africa.

    • ‘They are called marabouts, or holy men, and are believed to have baraka, or divine grace.’
    • ‘Algeria has many legends based on the exploits of Muslim leaders called marabouts who either resisted the Crusaders or the French colonizers.’
    • ‘The text centers on the compound of one marabout whose home is filled both inside and out with devotional imagery and serves as a site for the meetings of talibes (followers).’
    • ‘A group of Muslim holy men known as marabouts were able to stir dissent and gain prominence by convincing the local populations that they possessed supernatural powers.’
    • ‘For example, a marabout (traditional healer) may advise a sick person to write on a prayer board passages from the holy Koran.’
    • ‘At the mosque, the marabout (Islamic holy man) and the father give the baby an Arabic name from the Koran.’
    • ‘The Maghrib, including Tunisia, has many legends involving Muslim leaders called marabouts (holy men).’
    • ‘Among the Islamic Issa, Gadabursi, and Afar, sheikhs and marabouts occupy a prominent position and play a role in many lifecycle events.’
    • ‘During the rest of the film he tries to work out who could have cursed him and visits two marabouts to find a cure.’
    • ‘Many Guineans rely on their traditional spirit beliefs and rely on marabouts (dervishes believed to have supernatural powers) and fetishes (superstitious objects) in times of trouble.’
    • ‘Research included socioeconomic surveys and 286 semistructured interviews on social change with different rural actors including women, youths, male household heads, marabouts, elite farmers, and grain traders.’
    • ‘Marabouts play a unique role in Senegalese society: in orthodox Muslim communities, marabouts are teachers of the faith.’
    • ‘Also important among all groups are Koranic or Islamic scholars, often called marabouts, who serve as religious scholars and scribes and, in the countryside, combine legal, medical, and religious professions.’
    • ‘The other Islamic clerics who play major roles as healers and religious counselors are the marabouts.’
    • ‘Many Mauritanians have faith in the supernatural powers of holy men called marabouts, or murabitun.’
    • ‘Her friends subsequently carried her body to a marabout, an intermediary between the spiritual and the physical world, who succeeded in reviving her.’
    • ‘In doing those things, de Foucauld served as a countersign to the often (his judgment not mine) narrow, prestige-preoccupied, and hypocritical hereditary marabouts who headed up the various sectarian movements in Algerian Islam.’
    • ‘In the indigenous Berber religion, the holy men, called marabouts, were thought to be endowed by God with special powers.’
    1. 1.1A shrine marking the burial place of a Muslim holy man or hermit.
      holy place, temple, church, chapel, tabernacle, altar, sanctuary, sanctum
      View synonyms


Early 17th century: via French and Portuguese from Arabic murābiṭ holy man.