Definition of Gullah in US English:



  • 1A member of a black people living on the coast of South Carolina and nearby islands.

    • ‘Of all of the blacks in America, of all the African Americans living in America right now, the only ones that still have its originality, who still have its culture, who still has its language, is the Gullahs and the Geechees.’
    • ‘The rapid development increased the potential value of neighbouring parcels of land still owned by Gullahs.’
    • ‘And, since real estate taxes were set according to the potential value of the land, many Gullah, clinging to their traditional ways, were unable to afford them and were forced to sell off their holdings.’
    • ‘The Gullah are a distinctive group of African Americans from communities on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, who for many years were isolated from the mainland.’
    • ‘She is working closely with the chief activist, scheduling focus groups and interviews with both the Gullah and property owners.’
    • ‘Indeed, rice is what forms the special link between the Gullah and the people of Sierra Leone.’
    • ‘Many also incorporate the rice that the enslaved Gullah were especially ‘recruited’ to cultivate, as they had in the motherland.’
    • ‘Since the 1950s, however, Gullahs residing on the Sea Islands have been adversely affected by an influx of resort developers and the construction of bridges to the mainland.’
    • ‘Because of the Gullah's low profile, their exact numbers are difficult to determine.’
    • ‘Preserving traditions nurtured in the state, particularly music forms created by the Gullahs, will be just as critical as preserving those nurtured throughout the region, he adds.’
    • ‘Scientific results indicate that the Gullah's genetic lines were not traced back to just one African country, but spanned across several countries on the continent.’
    • ‘The Gullah were slaves, brought to the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia - where the culture is known as Geechee - in the early 1800s.’
    • ‘As the tour concludes, you will see St. Philip's Church - the oldest congregation south of the Mason-Dixon Line - where, Gullahs say, God lives.’
  • 2The Creole language of the Gullah, having an English base with elements from various West African languages. It has about 125,000 speakers.

    • ‘In a study done of the Gullah Creole spoken in parts of the south-eastern United States, older women were the heaviest users of Gullah because they worked in domestic and agricultural positions.’
    • ‘One of the most interesting features of Gullah is the frequent use of idiomatic expressions.’
    • ‘But others say Gullah is a dialect of English, just as French, Spanish and Romanian began as offshoots of Latin.’
    • ‘They spoke the Barbadian variety of Caribbean Creole English, such that Gullah is one more variation on that pattern.’
    • ‘Others say that Geechee is used by urban folks, Gullah by rural.’
    • ‘For example, Gullah, the dialect of the Carolina coast and islands, resembles Barbadian dialect.’
    • ‘Another language spoken by some Liberian Americans is Gullah, a Creole language with influences from the Gola ethnic group of Liberia.’
    • ‘In an ideal world we plan to gain the respect for diversity, difference between us and as we say in Gullah, between the beenyas and the comeyas.’
    • ‘Drawing on the lowcountry's culture of Gullah - a Creole language with African and English elements spoken by slaves and their descendants - Brown gives tourists chills with his description of boo hags.’
    • ‘Maum Patsy taught Peterkin the Gullah language; and, according to many of Peterkin's relatives, she learned to speak Gullah as fluently as she spoke ostensibly standard English.’
    • ‘Another striking similarity between Gullah and the languages of West Africa is the use of proverbs to teach and advise.’
    • ‘While the extent of African influence on Southern AmE remains a subject for debate, it is generally agreed that African influences remain in Gullah, a Creole spoken on the offshore islands of South Carolina and Georgia.’


  • Relating to the Gullah or their language.

    • ‘When you look around, it's clear that Gullah culture is not as strong as 40 years ago with all the development that has taken place in the community.’
    • ‘Despite inconsistencies and errors in available biographical data, it appears certain that Peterkin's relation to Gullah culture began almost at birth.’
    • ‘These Gullah slave farmers made their owners some of the wealthiest businessmen in pre-Civil War America.’
    • ‘The Gullah people of the Atlantic Sea Islands are a small and vanishing treasure of the American cultural tapestry.’
    • ‘Borne of slavery, Gullah spiritual music transcends time and takes the listener on a journey through history.’
    • ‘The climate and isolation of this area were integral to the development of Gullah culture.’
    • ‘It was almost like the Gullah speak of the Sea Islands, but Tiny was white and was brought up far from that culture.’
    • ‘This was Gullah country, the preserve of a people who have retained one of the least-diluted West African cultures and dialects still found in the New World.’
    • ‘The tall, stately Gullah nurse who'd met them at the clinic smiled at Catherine and continued wrapping an elastic bandage around his wrist.’
    • ‘This project supports the education of youths around the world on the Gullah and Geechee cultures.’
    • ‘Those who study the history of humans often compare the Gullah story to that of the Cajuns (first referred to as Acadians) of Southern Louisiana.’
    • ‘Some African and Gullah words became part of the American language, including goober, yam, okra and tote.’
    • ‘Some linguists classify the Gullah language, spoken in the North Carolina islands, as a pidgin that is based on West African syntax.’
    • ‘Other aspects of Gullah culture included musical and dance styles of African origin and a Christianity infused with African spirituality and emotionalism.’
    • ‘The Gullah Celebration is presented by the Native Island Business and Community Affairs Association.’
    • ‘But it's the Gullah culture - the Afrocentric arts, crafts, food, music, legends and language - that speaks to the soul of Black Americans.’
    • ‘He is the editor of The Crucible of Carolina: Essays in the Development of Gullah Language and Culture.’
    • ‘The Gullah bill has passed the House with unanimous approval and is now awaiting action in the Senate.’
    • ‘The Gullah people are direct descendents of these slaves and their language, a mix of African dialects and Elizabethan English, is considered to be the only surviving English-based patois in North America.’
    • ‘Much of the grammar and pronunciation of the Gullah languages has been modified to fit African patterns.’


Perhaps a shortening of Angola, or from Gola, the name of an agricultural people of Liberia and Sierra Leone.