Definition of myalism in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈmʌɪəlɪz(ə)m/

Entry from British & World English dictionary


[mass noun]
A Jamaican folk religion focused on the power of ancestors, typically involving drumming, dancing, spirit possession, ritual sacrifice, and herbalism.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • The other, myalism, was intended to counteract obeah.


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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: my¦al|ism

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.