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Mumbo Jumbo

Posted by James on October 07, 2003

Your meaning suggests the origin is from a Mandingo god 'Mama Dyanbo'. The C.O.D. says it is a "grotesque idol said to have been worshipped by some tribes; (fig.) object of senseless veneration; meaningless ritual. [orig. unkn.]". I do not know but could it be from the Swahili? "Mambo" = "a thing, matter, affair" much like the Latin "re". And the plural of "mambo" in Swahili is "jambo". Hence, "stuff" and "lots of stuff", perhaps a patronizing white Kenyan settler phrase derived from Swahili.