Ooga Booga  

Posted by Stella Clark

Ooga Booga Image
"Now, pick a magic word."

"Umm-"

"Nope, umm's not good enough."

-Nora Roberts, Honest Illusions, 1993

I bellowed the magic words, "Uuuhhh, Uuuhhh."

-Raymond W. Baker, Capitalism's Achilles Heel, 2005Language has the power to reawaken vestiges of humankind's earliest communication-our ancient ancestors' savage cries of anger or love. All such cries were commands, "originally bound up with the act" and indeed inseparable to the primitive mind. When intoned without mockery, the primitive syllables of ooga-booga conjure the "primal oohs and ahs from cave men and women... in those early human settlements," or perhaps the mysterious, exotic powers of tribal elders (Helen Godgson and Patti Britton, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sensual Massage, 2003).

Ooga-Booga has a variety of meanings, including:


o God; higher power

"Great Ooga-Booga, can't you hear me talkin' to ya?" -The Temptations, quoted in Miles to Go by Chris Murphy (2002)

"[P]eople felt when they died their 'spirit' went to the great ooga-booga in the sky..." -SciForums.com (2003)

o Jungle native chant

-James Howard Kunstler, Geography Of Nowhere (1994)

o Mumbo-jumbo

"The stuff where you play the records backwards and it's got some sort of ooga-booga about the Devil on it." -Joe R. Lansdale, The Drive-In (1988)

o Nonsense

-Orson Scott Card, The Memory of Earth (1992)

o Occult; "otherworldly phenomena"

-Bernie Brillstein, Where Did I Go Right? (1999)

o Password

"After two rings, a voice spoke from the tiny handset. 'Ooga-booga? Boola-boola,' Tollhouse responded. 'Hubba-hubba!' came the gratified reply." -Harry Beard, The Dick Cheney Code: A Parody (2004)

o Primitivism

-Rick Steves, Rick Steves' London 2004 (2003)

o Ritual

-Alexandra Robbins, Secrets of the Tomb (2003)

o Spirituality

"[There is] a spiritual component-what I sometimes laughingly refer to as ooga-booga moments." -Ronna Lichtenberg, Pitch Like a Girl (2005)

o Spooky

"In desperation, soaps have started adding a lot of ooga-booga ghost storylines with voodoo, witchcraft, and, in the case of one, a Chucky-style creepy doll that comes to life." -Celia Rivenbark, We're Just Like You, Only Prettier (2004)

o Voodoo

"There were zombies in the building. Not ooga-booga magic-type zombies, but near enough." -Richard Fawkes, Nature of the Beast (2004)o Witchdoctor, head honcho

"Seems the Lord High Ooga-Booga wants to see you face-to-face 'fore he seals the deal." -Tom Clancy, Hidden Agendas (1999)

"[H]e was like a guru, or a witch doctor, or some kind of far-out ooga-booga man..." -Frank E. Peretti, This Present Darkness (1986)

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