Suggested source is Austronesian - more details?

Some say that puripuri is from the Motu language of Central Province, but this is incorrect and it is not in Lister-Turner and Clark’s Motu dictionary (1931).

A narrower suggestion is Suau language in Milne Bay. For example, from the Papuan Villager, Dec 16 1929, p.1: ‘All through Papua the people know how to make magic; there are different kinds of it and many different words. Perhaps the commonest, which most of you know is the Suan [Suau] word, puripuri.’

Suau, a small island adjacent to the East Cape of Papua, is not an unlikely candidate. The first LMS mission station outside the Port Moresby area, it was established by James Chalmers and Rarotongan teachers in 1878. The Rarotongan teacher, Pi, learned the Suau language best, translated gospel texts into Suau, and was well known in eastern Papua until his death in Port Moresby in 1887 (Lovett 1903:173-174).

Haddon (1904:320), writing of Torres Strait in 1898, gives this explanation: ‘The word puri puri, or pura pura, is occasionally used for the producing of disease or sickness by magic. It is a Daudai [Papua New Guinea] term, as one informant said, ‘this word come from outside the sea.’’

As in Papua New Guinea, it is well known in Torres Strait today and is used in Aboriginal English all down Cape York and at least as far west as Katherine in the Northern Territory.

In anthropological terminology, sorcery is concerned with the technology of maliciously harming others without physically touching them. Compare ‘magic’, ‘poison’, ‘witchcraft’.

(No Mihalic entry)
. See List discussion. .

Noun forms

  1. Supernatural world: sorcery: a purported technical means of causing harm to a person at a distance blak pawa, buai, kawawar, pawa

  1. Supernatural world: In Tanga and Anir, New Ireland Province, more specifically love magic as opposed to more malicious kinds of sorcery [Stephanie Garling]. marila

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