Definition of gris-gris in US English:



  • 1An African or Caribbean charm or amulet.

    • ‘Another way to keep the will of others from harming you or your children would be to wear a greegree.’
    • ‘Charms known as gris-gris are used to harm one's enemies.’
    • ‘Most of the time, this was how her love potions and gris-gris worked, which is apparently 100% of the time.’
    • ‘Stones and colored objects are chosen for their occult and astrological meanings corresponding to the purpose for which the gris-gris is to be used.’
    • ‘Soon, gris-gris in the form of roosters' heads began to appear on his doorstep.’
    1. 1.1 The use of charms, especially in voodoo.
      as modifier ‘the New Orleans gris-gris traditions’
      • ‘From 1943 to his death in 1989, King Louis Narcisse fused Baptist, Pentecostal, and gris-gris traditions into a gumbo of ritual and hagiography.’
      • ‘Only a few shamans in the region were known to practice gris-gris.’
      • ‘The country reflects African music and culture - the Creole cuisine features myriad varieties of exotically spiced fish and seafood, and rural residents practice gris-gris, the local voodoo.’


Late 17th century: from French grisgris, of West African origin.