AskDefine | Define duppy

User Contributed Dictionary





  1. a Caribbean patois word of West African origin meaning ghost or spirit.

Usage notes

  • A Duppy is an evil spirit or ghost that is first referenced in Jamaican folktales and later mentioned in those of Barbados. It often appears in the form of a dog barking or howling through the night. Another folktale says that Duppies live in the buttress roots of silk cotton trees. Also used as an insult to White people, especially those that act black or Jamaican. As if they were a pale ghost form of a Jamaican.

Extensive Definition

Duppy is a Caribbean patois word of West African origin meaning ghost or spirit. Much of Caribbean folklore revolves around duppies. Duppies are generally regarded as malevolent spirits. 'Three footed horse' or 'Old Higue' are examples of the more malicious spirits.


Duppy folklore originates in West Africa. A duppy can be either the manifestation (in human or animal form) of the soul of a dead person, or a malevolent supernatural being. in Jamaica, a person is believed to possess two souls - a good soul and an earthly soul. In death, the good soul goes to heaven to be judged by God, while the earthly spirit remains for three days in the coffin with the body, where it may escape if proper precautions are not taken, and appear as a duppy. There was also a Drum & Bass single written by the duo Chase & Status and Capleton called "Duppy Man", with the track "Top Shotta" on the b-side. It was released on the Breakbeat Kaos label in 2005.
Duppies appear as common enemies in the Acclaim video game Shadow Man (available for Nintendo 64, Sony Playstation, Sega Dreamcast, and PC). In it, they appear as cadaverous humanoid creatures that attack at close range with their claws and from a distance by projectile vomiting projectiles of green goo. There is also a secret in the game that you can unlock which will allow you to change Shadow Man's appearance so that he looks like a Duppy himself (the "Play as Duppy" cheat).


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