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In the 1930s, some practitioners used the noun "hoodooism" (analogous with "occultism") to describe their work, but that term has dropped out of common parlance.
Hoodoo is also an adjective ("he layed a hoodoo trick for her") and a verb ("she hoodooed that man until he couldn't love no one but her").
Finally, in other parts of the South, the word "Voodoo" is not encountered at all except in the writings of uninformed white people, and the terms "hoodoo," "rootwork," "conjure" and "witchcraft" are variously applied to the system of African-American folk-magic.
A long discussion of the regional distribution of these terms can be found in Harry Middleton Hyatt's "Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork," a 5-volume, 4,766-page collection of material (consisting of 13,458 separate magic spells and folkloric beliefs) gathered by Hyatt from 1,600 informants in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia between 19.
Spoken: Yeah, man, play it for me [followed by guitar solo] "Now, Miss Hoodoo Lady, please give me a hoodoo hand; "Now, Miss Hoodoo Lady, please give me a hoodoo hand; "I wanna hoodoo this woman of mine, I believe she's got another man." Now, she squabbles all night long, she won't let me sleep.
Lord, I wonder what in the world this woman done done to me.
It is Eoghan's theory that the word hoodoo may derive from the special sense in which this Afro-Caribbean Spanish term Judio is used in Palo -- and would thus refer to African slaves who refused to renounce African customs and practices.
A Gaelic origin for the word hoodoo does, believe it or not, make sense in terms of African American history, for a large percentage of American sailors during the 19th century, especially before the Civil War, were African Americans, and they mingled freely with Irish sailors in the Atlantic shipping trade and in seaports from New York to New Orleans.
"Now, Miss Hoodoo Lady, please give me a hoodoo hand; "Now, Miss Hoodoo Lady, please give me a hoodoo hand; "I wanna hoodoo this woman of mine, I believe she's got another man." Unlike the word "conjure," the origin of the word "hoodoo" is not known with certainty.
It has for the most part been assumed to be African, and some have claimed that it derives from a word in the Hausa language for bad luck.
In some accounts the problems onboard these vessels were attributed to an evil spirit or presence.
Those who attribute the word hoodoo to Irish or Scottish seamen say that is is a phonetic transliteration of the Gaelic words Uath Dubh (pronounced hooh dooh), which means dark phantom, evil entity, or spiky ghost.