A Way With Words – WayWordRadio.org – Mojo VS Juju

Re: http://www.waywordradio.org/good-juju/

Thanks, Dad.
Word roots is one of my favorite subjects, and they seem to do some homework.
I wish they had a subscription for The Oxford English Dictionary (295$/yr!!), which cites the first known usage of each meaning of a word.

I knew what "cut to the quick" meant, but was not clear on the relations of these other uses of quick, except for the fingernail bed (cwicu). Another way to look at it is cut until the bleeding comes quickly, just as quicksilver and quicksand are less alive and more flowing quickly.

I had no idea that kerosene, dry ice, and cellophane, were proprietary eponyms like aspirin.

I'm not sure there is any difference at all between common use of mojo and juju, except which Vodun/Voodoo tradition it's from, and the more personal and positive connotation of mojo, which I think is increasingly absent over recent generations.

My guess is mojo is more Christianity influenced and more New World, but I can't remember any basis for that.

I asked, so now I gotta know…

Juju is not from Vodun, it's from West Africa.
Short Answer:

mojo (n.) Look up mojo at Dictionary.com
"magic," 1920s, probably of Creole origin, cf. Gullah moco "witchcraft," Fula moco'o "medicine man."


juju (n.2) Look up juju at Dictionary.com
"marijuana cigarette," 1940, supposedly from reduplicated middle syllable of marijuana.
juju (n.1) Look up juju at Dictionary.com
object of religious veneration among W.Africans, 1860, supposedly ultimately from Fr. joujou "toy, plaything."

Used previously by Europeans to describe the traditional West African religions.[2] Today it refers specifically to objects, such as amulets, and spells used superstitiously as part of witchcraft in West Africa.[3]

Juju can also be used as a kind of Geis to enforce a contract. In a typical scenario, a juju spell will be placed on a Nigerian woman before she is trafficked into Europe for prostitution, to ensure that she will pay back her traffickers and won't escape. The witch doctor casting the spell requires a payment for this service.[4] Juju is also commonly used in an attempt to affect the outcome of soccer games.[5]

The term juju, and the practices associated with it, travelled to the Americas from West Africa with the influx of slaves and still survives in some areas, particularly among the various groups of Maroons, who have tended to preserve their African traditions.

Contrary to common belief, voodoo (known as Vodun in West Africa) is not related to juju, despite the linguistic and spiritual similarities. Juju has acquired some karmic attributes in more recent times. Good juju can stem from almost any good deed: saving a kitten, or returning a lost book. Bad juju can be spread just as easily. These ideas revolve around the luck and fortune portions of juju. The use of juju to describe an object usually involves small items worn or carried; these generally contain medicines produced by witch doctors.


Mojo is a magical charm bag used in hoodoo, which has transmuted into a slang word for self-confidence, self-esteem or sex appeal. It may also refer to:

Media and entertainment




Mojo as given name
Mojo as nicknames


See also

Disambiguation icon This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title.
If an internal link led you here, you may wish to change the link to point directly to the intended article.

Longest disambiguation page I've ever seen?

Apparently, one can have a powerful mojo that is or is used to make juju, or a powerful juju that is or is used to make mojo, and using only good mojos can build up good juju, which one could use for bad jujus or to build powerful mojo, and that is just the beginning of the many ways they could be used together to mean different things, but the words also are unrelated and commonly interchangeable, in that they are both names for a type of gris-gris (fetish).

If you have an amulet of lucky spells in a lucky charm bag necklace, you can call it juju when you want to cleave to African tradition, mojo or gris-gris if you want to include New World influences, or you could be eclectic and call it a juju in a mojo gris-gris that gives good mojo when practising juju weather making jujus or mojos, or placing a juju spell on someone to decrease their mojo.

These traditions have a tendency to meld, blend, and conglomerate, as far as I can see, so the "technically" "correct" meanings will vary greatly depending upon one's own milieu of culture(s), associations, experience, beliefs, and revealed tradition(s).

also @ geanark.posterous.com


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