Definition of myalism in English:



mass noun
  • A Jamaican folk religion focused on the power of ancestors, typically involving drumming, dancing, spirit possession, ritual sacrifice, and herbalism.

    • ‘The other, myalism, was intended to counteract obeah.’
    • ‘Higman notes these men of God lost their enthusiasm for the August 1st festivities as myalism infiltrated the churches.’
    • ‘He was sometimes called upon by other missionaries to travel to distant places during a revival of obeah and myalism during the early 1840s.’
    • ‘The centrality of myalism in the novel indicates the constant process of creolization that is sustained by elements from the different cultures that make up Caribbean communities.’
    • ‘In Myal, a community invokes myalism, the earliest documented Jamaican religion with African roots, to counteract the psychological damage inflicted on a young woman by the circumstances of her life.’


Mid 19th century: from myal, in the same sense (perhaps from Hausa mayl ‘sorcerer’), + -ism.