Meaning of witarna in English:



  • A wooden object which makes a loud noise when whirled around, used in Aboriginal rituals and considered to be sacred.

    ‘two men come towards them, stamping, biting their beards, and swinging the witarna’
    • ‘As they reach the lads, each man puts the string of the witarna over the neck of every lad in succession.’
    • ‘The witarna is kept by the old men of the tribe, and is invested with sundry and somewhat contradictory attributes.’
    • ‘All these ceremonies are carefully kept from the sight of the women and the children; who, when they hear the sound of the witarna, hide their heads and exhibit every outward sign of terror.’
    • ‘When the cutting is over, two men take the witarnas, and swing them rapidly round their heads, advancing all the time towards the young men.’
    • ‘The women and children were not allowed to see the witarna; when the instrument sounded no women were to approach.’


Mid 19th century from Banggala (an Aboriginal language) widarna.