Doll face with evil eyes

Trini Phrase: Maljo

  • Maljo, maljoe, maljeu (n):  Evil eye; the belief that a conscious or unconscious look of envy or ill will can harm someone.  <French Creole malzie, Spanish  mal de ojo ‘evil eye’; Yoruba fi oju buruku si ‘put ugly eye on, Igbo /ole anja ‘look ugly  eye’, Kikongo /ntadidi je disu/ ‘look with bad eye’
    • I heard them say how my donkey grows, It seems like they want to give it maljo… The whole this is through jealousy , Because they want to buy me donkey from me.
    • A disease, attributed to maljo, characterized by fever, changed colour, inability to urinate, loss of appetite and weight, greenish stool.

It is not unheard of in Trinidad that if you have something of value somebody somewhere will give you maljo. For example, if you buy a new car and all of a sudden you get in an accident it’s not unheard of that you blame the accident on maljo that somebody put on your new car because you didn’t take it up to Mount Saint Benedict to get blessed! To know whether a child has maljo, you put a twig of the escobilla plant in his or her hand…if the child is afflicted the plant wilts.


Click here now for other Trini expressions and leave us a comment below of phrases you have heard. 

Source: Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago by Lise Winer

Featured Image by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

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