By Joseph E. Holloway, Ph.D



The purpose of this essay is to make available a comprehensive list of linguistic Africanisms drawn from a wide range of domains.  The focus in on names and words borrowed from African languages and found in Ebonics and American English. Scholars searching for linguistic Africanisms in African American names have not been successful establishing a direct relationship between African and black American naming practices.  Turner, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect (1949), is the exception.  Other scholars who have searched for Africanisms and focused on the phonology, morphology, semantics, and syntax of Black English in relation to African languages include Herskovits (1941), Stewart (1969), Baratz and Shuy (1969), Labov (1970), Wolfram (1969), and Dillard (1972).

This essay explores the historical relationship between African and African American naming practices and the search for Africanisms in black names.  It begins by examining runaway slave advertisements for possible Africanisms.  The focus is on African names in Colonial America, Africanisms in black naming practices, and African American nicknames.  At the end of this chapter is a list of African lexicon found in American English compiled from a number of word lists, including, Turner (1949), David Dalby (1972), Holloway and Vass (1990). This chapter does not duplicate their works, but seeks to correct the mistaken assumption that only West Africans languages contributed to the linguistic varieties found in American English.  This essay demonstrates that both West and Central African languages contributed to the diversity of  linguistic Africanisms found in American English.

In the Colonial period, African linguistic survivals were numerous because the memory of the African past was still present.  Planters were very aware of African ethnicity and attempted to prevent a continuation of African culture and customs on the American plantations which they controlled.  This actually accelerated the acculturation process among house servants, who were forced to learn English as the only medium of communication with one another and the planters.  The level of English proficiency among enslaved Africans was generally related to the slaves’ jobs.  House servants because of their close contact with the planters in the “Big House,” learned English more rapidly than field slaves, who had little contact with European-Americans culture and remained unacculturated for a longer period.  African acculturation in South Carolina took place at two levels, in the house and in the field.

The first Africans in North America were not completely unaware of English and other European languages.  For instance, Africans arriving in South Carolina from the coastal communities of Africa generally spoke some form of pidgin or Creole English prior to coming to America.  Many Angolans coming from the Congo-Angola areas spoke Portuguese.  Le Jau reported in 1710, “I have in this parish a few Negro Slaves. . . born and baptized among the Portuguese,”[1] and an account in 1739 declared that “amongst the Negro Slaves there are people who spoke Portuguese.”[2] Some “Spanish Negroes” were mentioned among the runaways in the South Carolina Gazette as heading toward Spanish Florida, while others attempted to seek out other Spanish-speaking slaves.[3]

Peter Timothy’s “Negro named Pierro” could speak “good English, Chickasaw, and perhaps French.”[4] A runaway mulatto, Antoine, could speak “very good French and English,” whereas Clase spoke “good English, and a little Spanish.”  Phobe spoke “French and English” and Jupiter could speak “good English and some French.”[5] In 1772 Finda Lawrence, the Gambian slave trader in West Africa who came to the American South as a tourist, must have had some knowledge of English to move around the South as she did.[6] Obviously these Africans who spoke multiple languages had prior contact with European on the western coast of Africa.

A brief survey of advertisements of runaways’ slaves revealed that in some cases Africans were speaking Creole or pidgin learned on the coast of Africa.  An advertisement read that he or she spoke “good English,” a sign of acculturation; if the enslaved African spoke “bad English” it was a sign the African had been in the colony for only a brief period and was probably an adult at the time of arrival.

During the Colonial period African ethnicity played a strong role initially in the development of plantation life.  The South Carolina Gazette revealed that the majority of “New Negroes” arriving in South Carolina spoke little or no English unless they had been imported from the West Indies or central Africa.  A sale advertisement in the Gazette read as follows: “A likely Negro Boy about 13 years of Age and speaks good English to be sold.”[7] That he spoke good English meant that he was probably “country-born”---raised in the colony and acculturated.  Africans born and raised in the colony had little trouble learning the language.  For example, a fourteen-year-old Angolan spoke “pretty good English,”[8] a seventeen-year-old Angolan spoke “broken English,”[9]and a nineteen-year-old spoke “good English.”[10] An Angolan woman, two Gambian men, and an Igbo man could speak “pretty good English.”[11] Obviously, acculturation and the learning of English among younger Africans were quite rapid, whereas older Africans learned English with greater difficulty.

An example of older and unacculturated Africans can be found in this advertisement: “Ran away from the Plantation farm belonging to Capt. Douglas, near Dorchester, a tall Negro fellow named Tower-hill and talks bad English.”[12] Many of the Charleston newspapers revealed this slow progress in learning English.  Four new Negro men were reported in the Gazette of January 22, 1737, out of the ship Shepherd from Angola in the beginning of November as “speaking no English and not knowing their master’s name.”  Four other could speak “no English,” and an Ebo runaway could “speak no more English other than his name is Jack.”[13]

Thomas Wright advertised that his slave Paul “had been one year in my plantation near Silk Hope” and still spoke “little English.”[14] Another African could not speak any English when he ran away almost a year earlier,[15] and three Angolan men had been in Carolina three years and still spoke “little English.”[16] But “country-born” Africans such as Jacob could speak only English.[17]

African cultural and linguistic acculturation into the American culture took several generations.  In each generation less and less of the African culture was retained.  After about eight generations of country-born Africans, successful Americanization had taken place.  But the linguistic exchanges were mutual and reciprocal: the process also brought about the Africanization of the South.  Generations of interaction with African speech patterns produced the distinct white southern accent.  Edward Kimber, a traveler in the South in 1746, noticed the impact of Black English on white southern speech, writing that “one thing they are very faulty in, with regard to their Children, which is, that when young, they suffer them too much to prowl amongst the young Negroes, which insensibly causes them to imbibe their Manners and broken speech.”[18] In other words, the English of southerners resembled the African version.

African arriving in Colonial America, especially South Carolina, continued to give their children African names well into the nineteenth century.  In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries African-Americans slaves had retained Africanisms in their naming practices.  The greatest percentage of African names occurred among male slaves in the eighteenth century, when the majority of the black population was still unacclturated.  African names gave them a sense of cultural integrity and a link to their African past and heritage.

While learning English the Africans did not at first forget their traditional naming practices.  During the Colonial period the practice of naming children after the days of the week, months, and seasons was retained.  In some cases the African Americans retained the original African version of their day names, but as generations passed they substituted the original African name for their English equivalent. The following table lists Akan day names found in the South Carolina Gazette.[19]

Days of the Week with Corresponding

African Names

Day                                                Male Names                                  Female Names

Monday                                                Cudjoe                                                 Juba

Tuesday                                                Cubbenah                                           Beneba

Wednesday                                          Quaco                                                  Cuba

Thursday                                              Quao                                                   Abba

Friday                                                    Cuffee                                                 Phibba

Saturday                                               Quamin                                               Mimba

Sunday                                                  Quashee                                             Quasheba

Also found in the Gazette and other publication are such temporal names as January, April, May, June, September, November, March, August, Christmas, and Midday.  There are numerous examples of English equivalents of African day names such as Monday, Tuesday, or Friday.  According to Cohen, male names derived from the season are Spring (Ebo or Calabar) and Winter.  Moon and Thunder are names connected with the state of the weather at time of birth.  Other names which are probably English equivalents of African words are Arrow (‘of the Pappa country’), Boy (Guiney), Huntsman (new), Little One (Ebo), Plenty (Gambia and Mandingo), and Sharper (Bambara).[20] This Akan naming was practice in the Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina until the 1930s.

African the first and second generation, Africans began to substitute African day names for the English translations.  Paul Cuffee, a wealthy shipbuilder, came from this African naming system.  Cuffe, the seventh of ten children of Paul and Mary Slocum, was born on January 17, 1759, on Elizabeth Island near New Bedford, Massachusetts.  When he was nineteen years old, nine of the children dropped the slave name Slocum (the surname of their father’s master) and adopted their father’s slave name, Cufle.[21] This word is Ashanti, meaning “male child born on Friday,” and comes from Kofi.  Linguist Joel Dillard points out that female day names followed practices similar to the male day names and that Cuba was among the most common names given to female children born on Wednesday.  The name often given to a female child born on Friday was Phibba, which later transformed into Phoebe.  Abby came from Abba, the female day name for Tuesday.  According to Dillard, the name Benah, from Gubena (Tuesday), was frequently misanalyzed as “Venus.”  Cudjoe, the male day name for Monday, might be Cudjoe in the first generation, Monday in the second generation and Joe in the third generation.[22]

The Georgia Writers’ Project during the 1930s found that among the Georgia coastal blacks, a number of people had been named for week days or the month in which they were born.  One ex-slave who was interviewed in regard to this practice, Thursday Jones, explained:[23]

Dey name me dat way jis cus uh happen tuh be bawn on Tursday, I guess.  Sech things seem tub be in our fambly.  I had ah uncle who name tis Monday Collins.  It seem tuh come duh fus ting tuh folks’ mine tuh name duh babies fuh duh dey is baw on.

Here we see how the English equivalents of African day names were being used.  By the nineteenth century the African day names often had lost their meaning, but African Americans continued to give day names after their parents.

Quaco, the male day name for Wednesday, was also commonly found during the Colonial period.  But later Quaco became Jacco, Jacky, and Jack.  There was the case of Martin Jackson of Texas who decided to become Jackson because one of his relatives had a similar African name:[24]

The master’s name was usually adopted by a slave after he was set free.  This was done more because it was the logical thing to do and the easiest way to be identified, than it was through affection for the master.  Also, the government seemed to be in an almighty hurry to have us get names.  We had to register as someone, so we could be citizens.  Well, I got to thinking about all us slave that was going to take the name Fitzpatrick.  I made up my mind I’d find me a different one.  One of my grandfathers in Africa was called Jeaceo, and so I decided on Jackson.

By, 1734, when the South Carolina Gazette was established, names of African origin included Bowbaw, Cuffee, Ebo Jo, Ganda, Quaquo, Quomenor, and Quoy for male Africans and Auba, Bucko, Juba Mimba, Odah, and Otta for females.  African names common in the eighteenth century were Sambo, Quash, Mingo, and Juba.  The most widely used day name were Cuffee (Kofi) and Cudjoe for males and Abba and Juba for females.[25]

According to Cohen, African day names and their English counterparts existed side by side.  Two male slaves named Friday, one of them “this country born” and the other from the “Angola Country,” and two male slaves named Monday, one from “Bomborough” (Bambara?) and the other “A Barbian (Bambara) Negro,” are mentioned in the Gazette.[26]

Blanche Britt supplied Menchen with this list of African names taken from southern newspapers from 1736 to the end of the eighteenth century: Annika, Boohum, Boomy, Bowzar, Cuffee, Cuffey, Cuffy, Habella, Kauchee, Mila, Minas, Monimea, Pamo, Qua, Quaco, Quamina, Quash, Warrah, and Yonaha.[27]

Cohen gives a list of African names found in the Gazette between 1732 and 1775 (table1)[28]

A list of slave names from a 1656 land patent record suggest that these slaves came from the “Bight of Guinea” to Virginia on a Dutch ship, the Wittepaert, by way of New Netherlands.  The Virginia importer was Edmund Scarburgh.  The names are given in the following table 2.[29]

Table 1

African Names from South Carolina Gazette, 1732-1775


Male Names

Ankey                                              Folee                                       (Kuamania)*

Assam (Asane)*                              Footbea                                   Quaow

Assey (Ase)*                                    Gamone(Ngamone)              Quash

Bafey (Bofe)*                                    Goma (Ngoma)*                    Quaw

Balipho                                              Gunnah (Kuna)*                   Rente

Banjoe                                                Haloe (Halue)*                      Saffran

Beay (Mbiya)*                                   Homady                                 Sambo

Beoy                                                    Hughky (Huki)*                  Sandico

Bobodandy                                        Jamina*                                  Sango

Boo (Mbo)*                                        Jellemy                                   Santry

Boswine                                             Jobny                                      Saundy

Bram                                                   Ketch                                      Savey

Bury                                                    Mahomet                               Sawney

Chopco (Tshikapu)*                         Mallay                                    Serrah

Claes                                                  Mambee (Muambe)*             Shampee

Clawes                                               Mamena (Maminu)*             Sirrah

Chockcoose                                       Manso                                     Sobo

(Tshikusa)*                                        Marmillo                                Sogo

Congo                                                 Massery                                 Stepney

Crack                                                  Mingo                                     Tokey

Cudjoe                                                Mobe                                      Tomboe

Cuff                                                     Mollock                                  Wabe (Webe)

Cuffee (Kofi)                                      Monvigo (Muvinga)*           Whan

Culley                                                 Morrica                                   Wholly (Hola)

Cumin (Kumina)*                             Musce Jack                             Woolaw

Dago                                                   Mussu (Musue)*                    Yanke

Dembow (Ndembu)*                       Okree                                       Yanki

Dibbie                                                 Pherco                                      onge

Donas                                                  Fouta (Fula)*                          Zick (Tshika)*

Doney                                                 Quacoe (Kuaka)*                   Zocky (Nzoko)

Easom                                                 Quammano                            Zoun

Female Names

Aba (Aba)*                                         Camba (Kamba)*                   Juba

Abey                                                   Choe (Njo)*                             Juda

Affrey                                                 Cuba (Nkuba)*                       Mabia

Agua                                                   Dye (Ndaye)*                         Mamadoe

Arrah                                                   Eley (Elayi)*                           Mawdlong

Banaba (Ban’ Aba)*                           Embro                                     (Walongo)*

Binah (Bena)*                                     Famtame (Patane)*                Minda (Minda)

Body (Mbudi)*                                   Fortimer                                  Nea (Neaye)

Plaeby                                                  Rynah                                      Sibby

Quant (Kamu)*                                  Sack (Seka)*                           Tinah

Rino                                                    Sard                                         Windy (Wende


*Luba words identified by Vass

Table 2

Names Listed on the Dutch Slave Ship Wittepaert



Ufoler (uhola-harvest)*


Ambe (let him tell)*


Assone (Asune, let him bring water)*

Ay (Aye, let him send)*

Monafunke (Mona nfunke, see I’m pointing)*


Messon (Mesu-eyes)*




Angora (A’Ngola)*




Ogombe (Ngombe-cow)*



Tubuno (Tubu’enuk, your hole)*


Janna (Tshiana, fat child)*




Dondo (Ndondo, ritual term, depths)*




Sango (Sanga, unite)*








Agoe (Angue, let him seek)*



*Luba words identified by Vass


Names are of great importance in West and Central Africa.  Names are given as stages in an individual’s life and, as among all people for whom magic is important, the identification of a real name with the personality of its bearer is held to be so complete that this real name, usually the one given at birth by a particular relative, must be kept secret lest it come into the hands of someone who might use it in working evil magic against the person.  That is why, among Africans, a person’s name may in so many instances change with time, a new designation being assumed on the occasion of some striking occurrence in the person’s life.  When the person goes through one of the rites marking a new stage in his or her development, a name change also occurs to note the event.[30]

Stuckey, in Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the foundations of Black America (1987), noted that black naming practices were African in origin, in that, African Americans changed their names just as Africans did, corresponding to major changes in the life of the individual.  The name shifting is clearly demonstrated by the experience of Frederick Douglass, who, soon after escaping slavery, began a series of name changes.[31]

On the morning after our arrival at New Bedford, while at the breakfast-table, the question arose as to what name I should be called by.  The name given me by my mother was Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey.  I, however, had dispensed with the two middle names long before I left Maryland so that I was generally known by the name Frederick Bailey.  I started from Baltimore; I found it necessary again to change my name. . . I gave Mr. Johnson, Mr. Nathan Johnson of New Bedford, the privilege of choosing me a name, but told him he must not take from me the name of “Frederick,” I must hold on to that a sense of identity.

Sojourner Truth, a crusader for black emancipation and feminine equality, was known as Isabella until about the age twenty, when she was freed and left her master’s plantation.  She had a vision in a dream that told her about her new name and her mission to free her people.  And Malcolm X, through various stages of his life, was known as Malcolm Little, Homeboy, Detroit Red, Big Red, Satan, Malcolm, El-hajji, and Malik El Shabazz.[32]

Such name shifting is common throughout West and particularly Central Africa.  In many parts of Africa every man who leaves his traditional setting and family is given or takes a new name when he turns or walks away from home.  This situation parallels that of enslaved Africans who were brought to the Americas, away from their ethnic groups, but who remained in contact with others who shared a similar ethnic background.[33]

Nowhere is this tradition as vivid as in the jazz world, where name shifting is common, signaling a major event in the life of the musician: Jelly Roll Morton (Ferdinand La Menthe), Satchmo (Louis Armstrong), Yardbird (Charles Parker), Lady (Billie Holiday).  The story of these name changes follows the African pattern of using a new name to adapt to new circumstance and changes in the person’s new life.


A more direct African survival is the use of nicknames.  Almost every black person is known by two names: a given name and a name used only within the family circle.  Lorenzo Dow Turner found a dual naming system among the Gullah in the Sea Islands of South Carolina.  This system consists of an English (American) name given at birth and a more intimate name used exclusively by the family and community.  Turner was surprised that previous scholarship hade failed to note this practice or the importance of Africanisms in Gullah nomenclature.  Slaveholders recognized this dual naming practice among enslaved Africans in the eighteenth century.  In their advertisements of runaways in the South Carolina Gazette, owners always included “proper” (given) names and “country names,” the African names retained.[34]

This naming practice still exists among the Gullahs and in the general African American population.  In Black naming practices every child receives a given name at birth and a nickname that generally follows the individual throughout life.  Some examples of these nicknames are Jo Jo, June, Tiny Baby, O.K., John John, Mercy, Baby Sister, “T,” Sunny Man, Main, Bo, Boo, Bad Boy, Playboy and Fats.[35]

Among enslaved Africans this practice was also evident in names used by slaves, such as Pie Ya, Puddin’-tame, Frog, Tennie C., Monkey, Mush, Cooter, John de Baptist, Fat-Man, Preacher, Jack Rabbit, Sixty, Pop Corn, Old Gold, Dootes, Angle-eye, Bad Luck, Sky-up-de-Greek, Cracker Jabbo, Cat-Fish, Bear, Tip, Odessa, Pig Lasses, Rattler, Pearly, Luck, Buffalo, Old Blue, Red Fox, Coon, and Jewsharp.

Turner found that Gullah-speaking people preserved their language and nicknames by what they called basket names or day names.  Their children always had two distinct names, an English one for public use and an authentic African name for private use by the extended family along.  Here are a few examples of Gullah basket names which are also straight, unchanged, present-day Tshiluba names.

Ndomba is the name given a Gullah child whose hand protrudes first at birth.  It means “I am begging (with my outstretched hand).”  Mviluki has a Gullah meaning of “a penitent.”  Its Luba source word is Mvuluki, a rememberer, one who doesn’t forget his sins.  The basket name Siungila means “to save, help, deliver,” while Kamba, a very common Luba name, comes from Munkamba, meaning “ancestor.” The Gullah meaning of Kamba is “a grave.” Anyika, a Gullah name meaning “to praise the beauty of.”  Sebe, a Gullah name meaning “a leather ornament,” comes from the Mesu (eyes), Kudima (to work or hoe), and Kudiya (to eat) are all Gullah day names, exactly the same in Gullah and Luba.[36]

In the Sea Island of South Carolina, children sometimes have not only their given names but also community names.  The community gives the child a name that characterizes or is characteristic of the individual, i.e., Smart Child, Shanty (show off).[37] This practice parallels Bantu naming practices in Zaire.  Net’s basketball center Dikenibo Mutombo from Zaire illustrates this point.  His full name is Dikambe Mutombo Mpolondo Munkamba Diken Jean-Jean Jacque wa Mutombo.  In order, these names are his uncle’s name, his family surname, his grandfather’s name, his nicknames given by his village, his name given at birth, and his hometown village, wa Mutombo (which means “from the village Mutombo”).[38]

Other creolized Gullah pet names (nicknames) so typical of Bantu practices are names of animals or fish: De Dog, Doggie Kitty Fish Yellowtail, Croker, Frog Spider, Boy, Gal Jumper, Tooti, Crocki, Don, Cuffy, Akebee, Dr. Buzzer, and Dr. Eagle.[39]

In Gullah naming practices, as in African naming practices, children are named after parents because they are believed to be the parent spirit residing in the children.  The same name might appear in several generations in a family.  In the Sea Islands the name Litia appeared in four generations of female children.[40]

An integral part of Bantu culture is the unchanging secret “spirit name,” something that the individual has which is uniquely his or her own from the past and is carried on to the next generation, given to a new baby so that it may remain incarnate.  Thus by a strange interweaving of religion and language, the “inner soul” of the speech of a cultural group is preserved.  As Munday reported,[41]

Investigation brings to light the fact that the Africans of these parts, whether man or woman, have two classes of names: (a) spirit-names and (b) names of manhood or womanhood.  Each has one (a few have two) of the names of the first class, and one or more names from the second class.  It is by these names of manhood or womanhood that they prefer to be called; some are traditional African names of these parts, some are debased European words, some are European given or family nicknames, some are nicknames, given owing to some peculiarity, some are names given at baptism.  All of these names of manhood and womanhood (except the last) can be, and are, changed for any and no reason, and according to who is changed, once it is finally given.  It is of this spirit-name that the Lala aphorism says: The name is the Spirit.

Officials now prefer the African to be registered under his spirit-name, owing to its never being changed, but there are two practical disadvantages which weigh against its being used for registration purposes:  An African of tribes with which we are concerned is very shy of using it for himself or another, and in some parts, the spirit names are so few in number that the majority of person in one area may share half a dozen.  However, as has been said, the spirit name is never changed from the mother’s back to the grave.

The giving of the spirit-name (literally, “of birth” or “of the navel”) is regarded as an event of the greatest importance.  Every child born is regarded as the “come back” of some dead person, either of the same or of the opposite sex.  The person has to be given the spirit-name of the dead person.

Munday points out that the spirits of the dead are immortal only as they become incarnate again in another human being that bears their name.  If a name is forgotten so that it cannot become incarnate, it wanders through the world as a ghost.[42] As one becomes more and more aware of the deep currents of relationship that still exist with the African mother continent and African American in the North American Diaspora:

The following is a list of liguistic Africanisms found in contemporary American English.

adobe[43] Twi (Akan) a palm tree, leaves or grass used for roof covering.

ananse[44] Twi (Akan) and Ewe, spider; Bambara nansi, chameleon.

bad[45] Very good, used esp. in emphatic form, baad. Cf. Michael Jackson’s   I’m baad!” Similar are mean, in sense of satisfying, fine, attractive; wicked, in   sense of excellent, capable. Cf.  African use of negative terms, pronounced   emphatically, to describe positive extremes: Mandingo (Bambara) a ka   nyi ko-jugu, it’s very good! (lit. “it is good badly!”); Mandingo (Gambia)    a nyinata jaw-ke, she is very beautiful! Also West African English (Sierra   Leone) gud baad, it’s very good!

bad-eye[46] Threatening, hateful glance.  Common African-American colloquialism. Cf.  Mandingo nyejugu, hateful glance (lit. “bad eye”) and similar phrases  in other West African languages.

bad-mouth[47] In Gullah, slander, abuse, gossip; also used as v. Cf. Mandingo da-jugu and Hausa mugum-baki, slander, abuse (in both cases, lit. “bad mouth”).

bambi[48] Bantu mubambi, one who lies down in order to hide; position of antelope   fawn for concealment (cf. Walt Disney, Bambi).

bamboula[49] African drum used in New Orleans during the nineteenth century.  Also, a vigorous style of dancing there, early twentieth century.  “Drum” in early jazz use.  Cf. bambula, beat, hit, or strike a surface, a drum.  Similar terms  in  other West African coastal language groups.

banana[50] Wolof word for fruit and was first recorded in 1563, and entered British  English in the seventeenth century via Spanish and Portuguese.

banjo[51] Kimbundu mbanza, stringed musical instruments, whence also Jamaican   English banja and Brazilian Portuguese banza.

be with it[52] Mandingo expression, to be a la (lit. “to be with in, in it”) to be in fashion.

bidibidi[53] Bantu bidibidi: a small bird; a small yellow bird.  Ebonic: “a little biddy  bird.”

biddy[54] Baby chick, chicken, fowl.

big eye[55] Igbo anya uku, covetous, greedy (lit. “big eye”). Cf. West African and  Caribbean English big yay, big eye. Same in Gullah and Black English.

bo[56] Temne and Vai (Sierra Leone), friend; informal term of address for an  equal.  West African and Caribbean English bo, ba.

bogue, bogus[57] Hausa boko, boko-boko, deceit, fraud, West African  English (Sierra Leone) bogo-bogo, Louisiana French bogue, fake,  fraudulent, phony.  The ending of bogus have an analogy with hocus pocus. This term comes from the Latin "hoc est emin corpus" in the Latin mass.

booboo[58] Bantu mbuku, stupid, blundering act; error, blunder.  Common nickname   found in Black English.

boody[59] Bantu buedi, act of emission, sex. Cf. black American slang: “give  me that booty.”

booger[60] Bantu mbukku, divination, consultation of the spirits; ghost, spirit.

boobaboo[61] Bantu buka lubuk, conjure, enchant, divine; consult a medicine  man; imaginary cause of fear, worry; nemesis.

boogie (woogie)[62] Bantu mbuki-mvuki, to take off in dance performance.  Hausa buga (bugi after n. object).  Mande bugs, to beat, to beat drums.  West African English (Sierra Leone) bogi, to dance.  To dance fast blues music, eight beats to a bar; boog, to dance.

bowdacious[63] Bantu botesha, pulverize, grind to powder; extremely, exceedingly,  to the ninth degree. Cf. uncle Remus usage.

bozo[64] Bantu boza, knock things over in passing; a strong, stupid person, a  stumblebum.  Common in black American slang: “Don’t be a   bozo!”

brer, buh[65] Mandingo kckc, elder brother; title used before animal names in fables, tales. Cf. Uncle Remus usage.

bronco[66] Term of Ibibio origin, used centuries ago to denote Spanish and African slaves who worked with and cared for cattle.

buckaroo[67] Ibibio buckra, poor white man; a white person bucking a bronco.  See Buckra.

buckra (1)[68] Efik and Ibibio mbakara, master.  Used by enslaved Africans to   refer to and address their masters.  By 1730s, enslaved Africans and colonists used it to mean “white man.” Often pronounced an spelled buccara and boccra, by 1775 it had come to mean “gentlemen” and even, by 1860s, the color “white.”

buckra (2)[69] Poor or mean white man, now rare in the United States, except in the South Carolina Sea Islands. Still current in Jamaican English.   Convergence with Spanish vaquero; hence buckaroo, bucker (cowboy).

bug[70] Mandingo baga, to offend, annoy, harm (someone); Wolof  bugal,  to annoy, worry.  Note also West African and Caribbean English ambog, to annoy; this form; pronounced in eighteenth century with stress on second syllable, may reflect the nominal prefix m- in Wolof mbugal, hindrance, annoyance.  The same element may be  contained in British and American English humbug, to hoax, impose upon.

cat[71] A person, man, fellow, just a “cool dude.”  Same as hipi cat.

chance[72] Bantu tshianza, hand, handful; a certain number, several.

chick[73] Girl, pretty young woman, one especially “hip,” or attractive.  Cf.   Wolof  jigen, woman.  Note convergence with English chicken.

chigger[74] Wolof jiga, insect, sand flea.  First recorded in 1743, via  Caribbean.  Originally pronounced and spelled chigo, chego, or   chiego.

cowboy[75] Originated in Colonial period when African labor and skills were closely associated with cattle raising.  Africans stationed at cow pens with herding responsibilities were referred to as “cowboy,” just as Africans who worked in the “Big House” were known as “houseboy.  As late as 1865, following the Civil War, Africans  whose livestock responsibilities were with cattle were referred to  as “cowboys” in plantation records.  After 1865, whites associated with cattle industry referred to themselves as “cattlemen” to distinguish themselves from “cowboys.”

coob[76] Bantu –kuba, care for, take care of, watch over, a hutch, pen, or  coop for fowls or small domestic animals: a chicken “coob.”

cool[77] Mandingo cool, slow and gone not; hence fast.  Terms applied to music and dancing: calm, controlled, slow tempo and the opposite,  hot, fast, and energetic.  Corresponding terms found in other African languages.

cooter[78] Kongo nkuda, a box turtle.  Also West African kuta, turtle, used   recorded 1832.  Came into southern U.S. dialect via Gullah heard mainly in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Louisiana.

daskiki Yoruba danshiki, a loose, colorfully patterned, bottomless pull on   shirt.  Garment and word were introduced during the civil rights  movement of  1960s, when young black men wore dashikis to reassert their identity with African culture.  Made famous by [Ron]   Maulana Karenga in the 1960s.

day-clean[79] Bantu kutoka kulu, dawn, “clean sky"; Wolof ba set na, it has  dawned (day is clean); Mandingo dugu jera, it has dawned (day has become clean, clear).  Found in Gullah, West African and Caribbean English do-klin, day-clean, and black Caribbean French  ju netye (lit. “day-cleaned).

diddle[80] Bantu dinga: dececeive, trick, cheat; cheat, swindle.

diddy-wa-diddy[81] Bantu wadid-wadid:  you eat and eat; legendary place of plenty to eat.

dig[82] Wolof deg, dega, understand, appreciate, pay attention to.  Convergence with Black English to “dig,” understand.

dinge[83] Mandingo den, din, child, young person, younger than the speaker,  den-ke, male child, young man.  A black person, dingey; a black   child dinkey.

dirt[84] Akan dote, earth, soil.  Common in U.S., as in “dirt road” or dirt   track.”  West African and Caribbean English doti, dirty, earth.  Convergence with British English in its original sense of “filthy.’

doll-baby[85] Yoruba omo langidi, little child; oyedeji, wooden images.  Southern dialect idiom common in Black English, distribution mainly along Atlantic Coast.

do one’s thing[86] Mandingo ka a fen ke (lit. “to do one’s t’ing”), to undertake one’s  favorite activity or assume one’s favorite role

done[87] Wolof doon, past completive marker, “he done go”; Mandingo tun,   past completive marker.  Cf. also black West African English don, as past completive marker.  Convergence with English done.

fat-mouth[88] Mandingo da-baa, excessive talking (lit. “big, fat mouth”) Same as bad-mouth.

foo-foo[89] Akan foforo, new, fresh, strange.  An outsider, a newcomer, one   who does not belong or is not accepted, a fool, a worthless person.     Convergence with English fool.  Cf. black Jamaican English foo-o, fool-fool, credulous, easy to take advantage of, stupid.

fuzzy[90] Wolof    fas, horse (fas wi, the horse, fas yi, the horses).”Horse” in   two specialized senses: “range horse” and “sure bet at a horse   race.” Hence, perhaps, fuzz, fuzzy, policeman, from an earlier use  of horse patrols.  Covergence with English fuzzy-tail.

gam[91] Hausa gama, boastfulness, showing off.

geechee[92] Originally meant an African from the Guinea coast.  Later, it   meant a black who not yet fully acculturated during slavery.  In 1799, applied to Africans brought to Ogeechee River plantation  under coercion.

goober[93] Bantu nguba, peanut; use recorded 1834. Another word for peanut is pinder, or pinal, from Congo mpinda, peanut; use first recorded in Jamaica 1707, South Carolina 1848.

goofer-bag[94] Bantu kufwa, to die; v. common to all Bantu languages.  A charm to protect from death.

goofer-dust[95] Bantu kufaw, to die.  Refers to grave dirt.  In Congo (Zaire), earth from a grave is considered at one with the spirit of the buried   person.  Used by “root workers” on American plantation.

goose[96] Wolof kus, anus.  To nudge someone in the anus.  “Your goose is cooked.” (Originally from Arabic?)

gris-gris[97] Object worn as protective charm against evil, or used to inflict    harm.  An amulet in place of and with the power to remove voodoo curses.  Associated with voodoo rites in Louisiana.  Used by Mari Laveau, noted voodoo queen.  She concocted a gris-gris of salt,  gunpowder, saffron, and dried dog dung.  A gris-gris that protected from evil or brought good luck was a dime with a hole in it, worn  about the ankle.  Mende in origin, via Hausa.

gullah[98] Bantu Ngola, an ethnic group in Angola.  Refers to African   Americans living in the Sea Islands and regions of South Carolina.   Georgia, and northern Florida.  Also refers to their language.

guy[99] Wolof gay, fellows, persons.  Used as a term of address, including   “you guys,” addressed even to a single man or woman.    Convergence with English personal name Guy.

he[100] Undifferentiated third-person sing. pron., he or she.  Similar usage is found in most West African and in all Bantu languages, as well as in most forms of black West African and Caribbean English. In Gullah, he remains undifferentiated, referring to either a male or a female.  For reverse African influence in differentiation between second-person sing. and pl. pron.

hear[101] Mandingo n mu a men, I didn’t understand (lit. “I didn’t hear it’), hearing in the sense of understanding.  Cf. similar application of v. meaning “to hear” in other West African languages.

hep hip[102] Wolof hepi, hipi, to open one’s eyes, to be aware of what is going on.  Hence hipi-kat, someone with eyes open, aware of what is going on.

honkie[103] Wolof hong, red pink; color used to describe white people in African  languages.  Cf.  also pink, a white man, and redneck, a power white farmer in the U.S.  In Ebonics honkie referred to whites who would come to the   black community, part, and honk their horns for their black dates.  This term was used before the 1960s.

hoodoo[104] Hoodoo, as opposed to voodoo, is less centrally organized as part of voodoo religious practices.  It generally connotes the mystic and magical   aspects, usually evolved for negative purpose.  “To hoodoo someone” implied that an individual was made to do something against his will by   the use of various concoctions, which could be drunk, eaten, or worn, in   order to make someone fall in love or to cause a death.

hulla-ballo[105] Bantu halua balualua, when those that are coming arrive.  Hence noise, uproar, racket of greeting.

hully-gully[106] Bantu halakala, compare (the hands, to ascertain the one holding the   rock). A child’s game.

jam[107] Informal gathering of jazz musicians, playing for their own entertainment.  Same element may be contained in jamboree, noisy revel, celebration, a full hand of cards, first recorded in 1860s.  Possible convergence of Mandingo and black West African English jama (from Arabic), crowd   gathering, and Wolof jam, slave (in U.S., a gathering of slaves or former  slaves for their own entertainment). A related Wolof term is jaambuur,  freeman, freed man.

jamboree[108] Celebration by emancipated slaves made famous with Juneteenth celebrations.

jazz[109] Bantu jaja, to make dance.  Obsolete forms jas, jasy.  The numerous   applications of this term center on basic v. sense of “to speed up, excite,   exaggerate, act in an unrestricted or extreme way.”  Note corresponding   use as n. and as adj., “jazzy.”  Applied to copulation, frenzied dancing,  fast music, exaggerated talk, gaudy patterns and colors, excessive pleasure-seeking.  Cf. Mandingo jasi, to become abnormal or out of   character, either diminished or excessive.  Cf.  similar Wolof yees and  Temne yas, to be lively or energetic to an extreme degree, applied to  exaggerated styles of dancing or music, excessive love-making, etc.

jelly, jelly-roll[110] Mandingo jeli, minstrel, who often gained popularity with   women through his skills in the use of words and music.  A virile man   who curries sexual favors of women.  Epithet applied in U.S. to several black musicians, including “Jelly Roll Morton” (piano), “Jelly” Williams   (bass), and “Jelly Thompson (guitar).  Convergence with English items of food, jelly and jelly-roll.

jenk[111] Bantu njika, reserve, reticence, inhibition.  “To spread my jenk”: relax,  have a good time.

jiffy[112] Bantu tshipi, short.  In a second, in a moment.

jigger[113] Bantu njiga, sand flea, insect.

jiggaboo[114] Bantu tshikabo, they bow the head docilely.  Derogatory term for black   person.  In Black English a jiggaboo is someone who is extremely black,   with strong African features, as opposed to high yellow, or light-skinned.

jitter-(bug)[115] Mandingo ji-to, frightened, cowardly, from ji, to be afraid.  Jitobaga, a frightened, cowardly person.  To tremble and shake, have “the jitters”;  nervousness, fear, cowardice.  Jitter bug:  an excited swing addict, who    shakes and trembles in dancing.

jive[116] Wolof jev, jew, to talk about someone in his absence, esp. in a disparaging way.  Misleading talk; to talk in a misleading or insincere way.  Applied to sexual and musical activity.  Ct. semantic range of jazz.  Convergences   with English jive, jibe, to sneer at, disparage.

john[117] Mandingo jon, slave, a person owned by someone else.  An average man, esp. one who can be exploited or easily taken in; a male lover, a    prostitute’s client.  Also used in black American folklore, as in John Henry, name of hero-slave frequently in conflict with “massa.”  The term massa provides a convenient convergence of English master and Mandingo massa, chief.  That Mandingo speakers in U.S. were conscious of this convergence is suggested by the cycle of black American tales   involving John-versus-Massa, which corresponds to a similar genre of Mandingo tales in West Africa involving jon, the slave, versus massa, the  chief.

juba (1)[118] A group dance with complex rhythmic clapping and slapping of knees and   things, as done by plantations slaves (1834).  Both dance and word are of  African origin.

juba (2)[119] One of the earliest records of the term juba dates to American minstrelsy  days.  Both Juba and Jube consistently appeared as names of enslaved  Africans who were skilled musicians and dancers.

juba (3)[120] Bantu juba, jiouba, or diubu, to beat time rhythmically.  Used to describe   an African dance step, the Charleston; recorded particularly in South   Carolina and West Indies.  Juba is also the Akan female day name for a  child born on Monday.

juba (4)[121] Traditional slave food.  Refers to the food that enslaved Africans working in the plantation house collected from the masas’s leftovers.  Such   leftovers were called juba, jibba, or jiba.  On Saturday or Sunday the  leftovers were thrown together; no one could distinguish the meat from the bread and vegetables.  This juba was placed in a huge pot and those working in the “de big House” shared it with those working in the fields.

juba (5)[122] Bantu nguba, kingooba, peanut, groundnut, “goober,” from which an old  African melody is derived.  The Juba dance was originally performed on  plantations but became so popular that whites gave it the name Charleston, after the southern city and major slave port.  The dance was introduced in   1926 to the American stage in an all-black production by E. F. Miller and Aubrey Lyles entitled Runnin’ Wild, and as the “Charleston” it became the   dance craze of the 1920s.

juke[123] Wolof dzug, to misbehave, lead a disorderly life; Bambara dzugu, wicked.   Brothel, cheap tavern, low dive.  Mainly Gullah and black use in South To  juke (1939), to make the rounds of taverns and low dives, go drinking; used mainly by southerners.  By early 1940s to juke came to mean “to   make the rounds drinking and dancing to jukeboxes” (1939).  Juke joints, taverns or roadhouses that featured jukeboxes.  Juke Juke-joint, a hand-out bar.  Cf. also Bantu juka, rise up, do your things.

ju  ju[124] Bantu njiu, danger, harm, accident.  A charm or fetish against such.

kakatulu[125] Bantu  kukatulu, to take off, remove; v.i., to be still, immobile.  Name of a   large bird, mockingbird.

kelt, ketch[126] Bantu keleja, filter, strain; catch the drippings, pale stuff.  A light-skinned    black person.

kickeraboo[127] The Americanisms “to kick the bucket” evolved from kickeraboo and kickatavoo, killed or dead.  Term has two Africans sources: Krio (the   English-based Creole of Sierra Leone) kekrebu, kekerabu, dead, to wither  (as leaves or fruit); Ga (West Africa) kekre, dry, stiff, and bo, to befall,  end.  “Kicking the bucket” was used in American blackface minstrel songs, regarding the death of a black person, until about mid-nineteenth century, when it moved into Standard American English.

kill[128] To affect strongly, as in “you kill me!” Similar usage in a number of West   African languages, including Wolof and Mandingo, or verbs meaning lit.  “to kill.”

kook, kooky[129]Bantu kuku, dolt, blockhead.  A strange, peculiar person.

kong[130] Bantu nkongo, mixture, conglomeration. Bootleg whiskey.

lubo[131] First used in America in 1732 to identify slaves from Niger Delta.  Use of African name indicated a first-generation African or a newly arrived  saltwater” African.

mahoola[132] Bantu mahula, secrets, divulged matters, indiscretions.  Silly talk.

man[133] Mandingo ce, man, the man; power, authority.  Term of address.

massa[134] Mande (Mandingo) masa, chief.

mat[135] Hausa mata or mace, woman, wife.

mean[136] Similar to bad, as “don’t be mean too me.”

mojo[137] Fula moca, to cast a magic spell by spitting.  Hence mocore, magic spell, incantation uttered while spitting.  Originally, magic spell, charm, amulet,  spell cast by spitting.  Mainly used today in sense of something working in  one’s favor: “I got my mojo working!” Also, narcotics.  Cf. Gullah moco, witchcraft, magic.  Black Jamaican English majoe, mojo, plant with renowned medicinal powers.

moola, mula[138] Bantu mulambo, receipts, tax money.  Money, wealth.  Cf. Black English “give me some moola!”

mother yo’ mama[139] West African, esp. Wolof; used as term of severe abuse or of jocular abuse between friends.  Includes use of explicit insults, such as “motherfucker.”

mouse[140] Mandingo muso and Vai musu, woman, wife.  Attractive girl, young  woman, girlfriend, wife.  Convergence with English mouse.  Of several   terms for “woman” taken over into Black English from major West African languages.

nana[141] Bantu nana: grandmother; Akan: nana: grandmother or grandfather.

ofay[142] White man. Extended form: ofaginzy. O-occurs as a nominal/adjectival  prefix in many West African languages.  Term for “white,” beginning with “f,” also occurs widely: Bama fe, Gola fua, Ndoh fowe, etc.  It has been suggested that ofay represents a rearrangement of the letters of the English word foe into pig Latin, but from its form, the word is more likely to have   an African origin.

okay (1)[143] Mandingo o-ke; Dogon o-kay; Djabo o-ke; Western Fula eeyi kay; Wolof  waw kayk, waw ke, all meaning “yes, indeed!” “That’s it, all right.”  Note  widespread use in languages of West Africa of kay and similar forms as   confirmatory markers, esp. after words meaning “yes.”  Recorded use of   oh ki, indicating surprised affirmation, in black Jamaican English 1816;   predates by over twenty years the popularization of OK in white speech of New England.  Affirmative use of kay-ki in black speech in U.S. is recorded from as early as 1776.  Early attempts were made to explain OK   as initial letters of misspelling of English words “all correct” or as French words au quai, on the quayside.  Subsequent attempts have been made to derive term from German, Greek, Scots, English, Finnish, and Choctaw, but little consideration has been given to possibility of origin in black speech.

okay (2)[144] Mandingo o-ke-len, after that (lit. “that being done”).  Use of this syntactic construction is widespread in West African languages.  “After that’ serves  as link between sentences in running narrative or discourse, serving to  confirm the preceding and anticipate the following sentence.

okra[145] Bantu kingombo, okra, Main ingredient of gumbo. Food plant indigenous  to Central Africa and brought to New World by enslaved Africans.  Known to most southerners by 1780s.

palooka[146] Bantu paluka (tshiseki), to have a fit, spasm, convulsion.  A stupid person;   an inferior prizefighter.

pamper[147] Bantu pamba, be worried, upset, afraid, disquieted.  To scold or “bless  out” someone.

peola[148] Bantu peula, peel off outer skin.  A light-complexioned black girl.

pharaoh[149] Kanuri fero, girl.  Girl, girlfriend, blues term.

phoney[150] Mandingo fani, foni (to be) false, valueless; to tell a lie.  Counterfeit, sham, something false or valueless.  Note also bogue, bogus.

pin[151] Temne pind, to stare at, see.  Black West African English (Sierra Leone)  pin, staring, as an intensifying adv. After v. denoting “to see.”  Convergence with English pin.

pinto[152] Temne (a-) bentho bier for carrying corpse.  In South Carolina and        Georgia, means “coffin.”

plat-eye[153] Bantu palatayi, scratch like a dog at the door.  Malevolent, supernatural being though to haunt Georgetown area of South Carolina.  Female, animal-like ghost, feared in South.

poke[154] Bantu –poko, deep bag, socket, cavity.  A sack, bag, wallet. Cf. “a pig in a  poke.

poon tang, puntang[155] Bantu mu ntanga, under the bed.  Sexual intercourse with a black person.   Sexually attractive (black) woman, vagina.  Cf. Lima puntuy, vagina.   Convergence with French putain, prostitute.

poop[156] Wolof pup, to defecate, of a child.  Convergence with similar forms in   European languages, including Dutch.  Cf. Black English pup pup.

poor jo[157] Vai dialect work of Liberia and Sierra Leone (1736), heard mainly in  Georgia.  Colloquial name for great blue heron.

rap[158] West African English (Sierra Leone) rap, to con, fool, get the better of   someone in verbal play.  Descriptive of a variety of verbal techniques: to   speak to, greet; flirt with, make a pass (at a girl); speak in a color way;   tease, taunt; con, fool.  Used also as n.  Recently popularized black    American usage of rap is, in fact, old.  Note to rap, meaning “to speak or  talk.”

rooty-toot[159] Wolof  rutu-tuti, rapid drumming sound. Old-fashioned music.  Also   rootin-tootin, noisy, boisterous.

ruskus[160] Bantu lukashi, sound of cheering and applause.  Informal, noisy  commotion, rumpus.

sambo[161] Bantu–samba, to comfort, cheer, console.  Cf.  Also widespread West African personal name: Wolof Samb, Samba; Mandingo Sambu; Hausa    sambo; similar names among Bantu.  Black man, male child, popular southern use of the name.  “Little Black Sambo” story appears to be a corruption of a West African folk tale.

say, says[162] Mandingo ko . . . , say.  Similar use of items meaning lit. “Say” found in numerous West African languages, black West African, and Caribbean  English.  Term used to introduce reported speech, “that . . .,” “he tell him,   say . . .”  Cf. black speech “say, man. . .,” “he say this, and he says that.”

shucking[163] Bantu shikuka, hold the head high, be willful, be obstinate.  Lying,  bluffing, faking.

skin[164] Temne botme-der, put skin; Mandingo I golo don m bolo, put your skin in my hand.  Cf. black speech “give me some skin, man!” (shake hands with   me!). Used in 1960s by African Americans before it moved into white    American speech.

tabby[165] Bantu ntaba, muddy place from which mud for building walls is taken.    Building material composed of oyster shells, lime, sand, and saltwater,   commonly used in building slave houses in Georgia and South Carolina.

too-la-loo[166] Bantu tullualua, we’re coming! Words of a song.

tote[167] Kikongo tota, to pick up; Kimbundu tuta, to carry, load. Black West

African English (Sierra Leone) tot, Cameroon tut, to carry.  Similar forms   meaning “carry” found in a number of western Bantu languages.

uh-huh[168] Uh-hum, yes; mhm, no Cf. widespread use throughout Africa of similar responses for “yes” and “no.” Scattered use of such forms occurs   elsewhere in the world esp. for “yes,” but nowhere as regularly as in   Africa, where, in many languages, they constitute regular words for “yes” and “no.”  Note also occurrence of intonational variants of these forms to indicate differing intensities and situations of response, both in African languages and black American English, as well as in black African and Caribbean English.  African origin of these items is confirmed by their   much wider use in American than in British English.

voodoo[169] Fon (Dahomey) vodu, vodun, fetish, witchcraft; to bewitch.  Entered  English via black French of New Orleans.

wyacoo[170] Mandingo epithet for a bad but powerful chief.  Arabic Yaqub, Jacob.    Also Yacub, described by Malcolm X as creator of white race.  A white   racist.

Yah (yo)[171] Crebo ya, used after commands; Temne yo, used after statements or   commands.  An emphatic concluding particle:  “Indeed!” Often said in   endearing tone, thus softening a statement or command.  Also black West   African and Caribbean English ya, said after statements or command.

yam[172] Wolof nyam, taste; Serer nyam, eat; Fula nyama, eat; black West African  and Caribbean English nyam, to eat.  Also Bantu nyambi, to eat.

yackety-yak[173] Bantu ya ntata ya ntata, of the passing moment only temporary.  Idle   chatter, monotonous talk.

you-uns[174] You pl; similar use of you-all.  Regular differentiation between second  person sign. And pl. pron. in African languages undoubtedly played a part    in introduction of comparable differentiation in American English, esp. in South.  Reinforced perhaps by differentiated pron. of French and Spanish.         Cf. esp. Wolof yow, you sing., versus yeen, yena, you pl.  Hence  convergences with you in sing. And you + one as new second-person pl.  form.  Note first-person we-uns by analogy.  Cf. black West African and     Caribbean English yu, you sing. versus una, unu, you pl. used in Sierra   Leone, Cameroon, Jamaica, and elsewhere.  In Gullah, yu versus une, and  in black Guyana English, you versus you-all.

ziggabo[175] Someone extremely dark in skin color.

zombie[176] Tshiluba Nzambi, God, and mujangi, spirit of the dead; Kimbundu nzumbi, ghost, phantom.  Supernatural force that brings a corpse back to   life.  Cf. Black Haitian French zombi, black West African and Caribbean    English  jombi, Sierra Leone and Cameroon jumbi, Guyana and Jamaica  zombie.

[1] Francis Le Lau to Sec. S.P.G., Aug 30, 1712, S.P.G. MS.A, no. 27 (Propagation of Gospel).

[2] “An Account of the Negro Insurrection in South Carolina,” CRSG 2, part 2, 233.

[3] South Carolina Gazette, Sept. 17, 1737.

[4] Ibid., June 14, 1740; Sept. 22, 1737.

[5] Ibid.., Feb. 8, 1748; Feb. 25, 1749; May 28, 1750; Feb. 18 1751.

[6] Phillips, American Negro Slavery, 20; also in Mechal Sobel, Trabelin’ on the Slave Journey to an Afro-Baptist Faith (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1988), 37.

[7] South Gazette, July 8, 1732.

[8] Ibid., Dec. 21, 1738.

[9] Ibid., Oct. 3, 1743.

[10] Ibid., Feb. 1, 1746.

[11] Ibid., Nov. 8, 1751; June 14, 1742; Jan. 17, 1743.

[12] Ibid., Jan. 17, 1743.

[13] Ibid., Oct. 26, 1734.

[14] Ibid., Feb. 9, 1738.

[15] Ibid., Mar. 16, 1738.

[16] Ibid., Mar. 30, 1734.

[17] Ibid., Jan.22, 1734.

[18] Quoted in “The Speech of Negroes in Colonial America.”

[19] Edward long, The History of Jamaica, 427; Hennig C. Cohen, “Slave Names in Colonial South Carolina,” 105.

[20] Cohen, “Slave Names,” 105.

[21] Whittington Bernard Johnson, “Negro Laboring Classes in Early America, 1750-1820.”

[22] J.L. Dillard, Black Names.

[23] Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies among the Georgia Coastal Negroes.

[24] Norman R. Yetman, ed. Life under the “Peculiar Institution,” 13.

[25] Inventories 1732-1736 of Charleston, S.C., Probate Court.

[26] Cohen, “Slave Names,” 104.

[27] H. L. Mencken, The American Language, 524.

[28] Cohen, “Slave Names.”

[29] Land Patent Book No. 4, 23.

[30] Dillard, Black Names.

[31] Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, 147-48.

[32] Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

[33] Dillard. Black Names, 25.

[34] Lorenzo Dow Turner, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect.

[35] Carmer, Stars Fell on Alabama, 96.

[36] Winifred K. Vass, unpublished materials.

[37] Joseph E. Holloway, personal interview with  the Rev. Ervin L. Greene, Jr., in Beaufort, 18, 1984.

[38] USA Today, “A Mutombo by Any Other Name.”

[39] Joseph E. Holloway, interview with Mrs. Etta Williams (age 86), St. Helena Island, Jan. 18, 1984.

[40] Joseph E. Holloway, field notebook.

[41] J. T. Munday, “Spirit Names among the Central Bantu,” 39-40.

[42] Ibid., 44.

[43] Turner,k Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect.

[44] Ibd.

[45] David Dalby, “The African Element in Black English,” 171.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid

[48] Wentworth and Flexner, Dictionary of American Slang, 18; Dalby, “African Element.”

[49] Source: Winifred K. Vass, linguist of Bantu languages.

[50] Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 127.

[51] Dena J. Epstein, “The Folk Banjo: A Documentary History,”  Ethnomusicology (September 1975); Dena J. Esptein, Sinful Tines and Spirituals: Black Folk Music to the Civil War (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977),k 120-22, 147l John A. Holm and Allison Watt Shilling, The Dictionary of Bahamian English; Dalby, “African Element.”

[52] Dalby, “African Element,” 177.

[53] Fancher, Lost Legacy, 45.

[54] Random House Dictionary,145; Hurston, Mules and Men, 64, 132.

[55] Holm and Shilling, Dictionary; Dalby, “African Element.”

[56] Dalby, “African Element,” 177

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Random House Dictionary, 169.

[60] Wentworth and Flexner, Dictionary, 69.

[61] Bradley, “Word-List,” 12.

[62] Random House Dictionary, 169; Dalby, “African Element,” 178.

[63] Stoney and Sheby, Black Genesis, 177.

[64] Random House Dictionary.

[65] Dalby, “African Elements,” 77.

[66] Texas newspaper article.

[67] Julian Mason in American Speech 35 (1960), 51-55, gives a detailed discussion of the etymology of buckaroo.

[68] Holm and Shilling, Bahamian Dictionary.

[69] Dalby, “African Element.”

[70] Ibid.

[71] Wolof in origin:  cf. hip-kat.

[72] C. M. Woodward, “Word List,” 9: Johnson, Folk Culture, 44.

[73] Dalby, “African Element,” 174.

[74] Holm and Shilling, Dictionary

[75] Wood, Black Majority, 32.

[76] Collymore, Barbadian Dialect, 26.

[77] Dalby, “African Element,” 179.

[78] Courlander, Negro Folk Music, 191.

[79] Holm and Shilling, Dictionary; Dalby, “African Element,” 179; Joseph E. Holloway, “Africanisms in Gullah Oral Tradition,” Western Journal of Black Studies 13, no.3 (1989), 119.

[80] Wentworth and  Flexner, Dictionary of American Slang, 125.

[81] Kennedy, Palmetto Country, 154-55.

[82] Dalby, “African Element.”

[83] Ibid.

[84] Ibid.

[85] Holm and Shilling, Dictionary

[86] Ibid., 180

[87] Ibid.

[88] Ibid.

[89] Ibid.

[90] Ibid.

[91] Ibid., Random House Dictionary, 582.

[92] Turner, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect, 194.

[93] Random House Dictionary, 609.

[94] Hurston, Mules and Men, 24l, 281

[95] Robert Farris Thompson, “Kongo Influences on African-American Artistic Culture,” in Holloway, ed. Afrcanisms, 148-84.

[96] Dalby, “African Element,” 180.

[97] Jessie Gaston Mulira, “The Case of Voodoo in New Orleans,” in Holloway, ed., Africansisms, 56; N. W. Newell, in Journal of American Folklore 2 (1889), 44.

[98] Turner, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect.

[99] Dalby, “African Element.”

[100] Ibid.

[101] Ibid.

[102] Ibid.

[103] Ibid.

[104] Mulira, “Case of Voodoo,” 56.

[105] Thomas, “South Texas Negro Folk Songs”; Vass, correspondence with Madge B. MacLachlan, Jackson, Fla., regarding terms used by her childhood playmate on the turpentine “flats.”

[106] Puckett, Folk Beliefs, 18-19.

[107] Dalby, “African Element,” 178.

[108] Ibid.

[109] Ibid., 181.

[110] Dalby, “African Element,” 181.

[111] Source: Winifred K. Vass.

[112] Random House Dictionary, 767.

[113] Ibid., 768.

[114] Ibid.

[115] Dalby, “African Element,” 182.

[116] Ibid.

[117] Ibid.

[118] Beverly J. Robinson, “Africanisms and the Study of Folklore” in Holloway, ed., Africanisms, 215; Mathews, Some Sources, 145; Vass, Bantu Speaking Heritage.

[119] Robinson, “Africanisms  and the Study of Folklore.”

[120] Ibid.

[121] Ibid.

[122] Ibid.

[123] Dalby, “African Element,” 182.

[124] Source: Winifred K. Vass linguist; informant.

[125] Ibid.

[126] Ibid.

[127] J. L. Dillard, All-American English.

[128] Dalby, “African Element,” 182.

[129] Random House Dictionary,794.

[130] Vass, Bantu Speaking Heritage.

[131] Ibid.

[132] Wentworth and Flexner, Dictionary of American Slang. 331.

[133] Dalby, “African Element,” 182.

[134] Ibid.

[135] Ibid.

[136] Ibid.

[137] Ibid.

[138] Random House Dictionary,929.

[139] Dalby, “African Element 182.

[140] Ibid.

[141] W. A. B.  Musgrave, “Ananci Stories,” 53-55.

[142] Ibid., 183.

[143] Ibid.

[144] Ibid.

[145] Ibid.

[146] Random House Dictionary, 1040.

[147] Collymore, Barbadian Dialect, 63.

[148] Wentworth and Flexner, Dictionary of American Slang, 382.

[149] Dalby, “African Element,” 184.

[150] Ibid.

[151] Ibid.

[152] Ibid.

[153] Smith, Gullah, 28.

[154] Random House Dictionary, 112.

[155] Wentworth and Flexner, Dictionary of American Slang, 401’ Vas. Bantu Speaking Heritage, 113; Dalby, “African Heritage.” 184.

[156] Dalby, “African Element,” 184.

[157] Ibid.

[158] Ibid.

[159] Ibid.

[160] Random House Dictionary, 1250.

[161] Turner, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect; Dalby, “African Elements,” 184.

[162] Dalby, “African Element,” 184.

[163] Ibid.

[164] Ibid.

[165] Random House Dictionary; Vass, Bantu Speaking Heritage, 114.

[166] Random House Dictionary; Vass, Bantu Speaking Heritage, 114; Dalby, “African Element,” 185.

[167] Bradley, “Word-List,” 67.

[168] Dalby, “African Element,” 185.

[169] William  A. Read, Louisiana-French, rev. ed. (Baton Rough: Louisiana State University press, 1963).

[170] Dalby, “African Element,” 185.

[171] Ibid.

[172] Ibid

[173] Random House Dictionary, 1652.

[174] Dalby, “African Element.”

[175] See jiggabbo.

[176] Random House Dictionary, 767; Read, Louisiana-French, 128; Dalby, “African Element,” 186.