Etymology
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betel (n.)
1550s, name of a creeping or climbing plant of the East Indies, also of its leaf (1580s), which is chewed, probably via Portuguese betel, from Malayalam (Dravidian) vettila, from veru ila "simple leaf."
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tarbrush (n.)
1711, from tar (n.1) + brush (n.1). To have a touch of the tarbrush "have a dash of African ancestry visible in the skin tone" (1796) was "a term of contempt from the West Indies" [Century Dictionary].
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terrapin (n.)
North American turtle, 1670s, earlier torope (1610s), from an Algonquian source (such as Abenaki turepe, Munsee (Delaware) tolpew "turtle"). Subsequently extended to allied species in South America, East Indies, China, North Africa.
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bongo (n.)
"one of a pair of attached small drums held between the knees and played with the fingers," 1920, from American Spanish (West Indies, especially Cuba), from a word of West African origin, such as Lokele (Zaire) boungu. Related: Bongos.
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obeah (n.)

"sorcery, witchcraft" among Africans in Africa and the West Indies, 1760, from a West African word, such as Efik (southern Nigeria) ubio "a thing or mixture left as a charm to cause sickness or death," Twi ebayifo "witch, wizard, sorcerer."

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fraidy-cat (n.)

"coward, timid person," by 1871, American English slang, from 'fraid (by 1816), childish or dialectal (African, West Indies) pronunciation of afraid, + cat (n.), perhaps in reference to the animals' instinct to scatter when startled. (Scaredy-cat is from 1906).

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Carib (n.)
"one of a native people of Central America and northern South America and formerly of the Caribbean," 1550s, from Spanish Caribe, from Arawakan (West Indies) kalingo, karina, or kalino, said to mean "brave ones" or else "strong men." As an adjective by 1881.
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Batavia 
former name of Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, when it was the Dutch East Indies, a colony of the Netherlands; from Batavia, an ancient name for a region of Holland at the mouth of the Rhine, from Latin Batavi, a people who dwelt between the Rhine and the Waal on the island of Betawe. Related: Batavian.
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persea (n.)

sacred fruit-bearing tree of Egypt and Persia, c. 1600, from Latin persea, from Greek persea; Beekes says the tree name in Greek, though referring to the tree in Egypt, reflects its Persian origin. Used from early 19c. of a genus of trees and shrubs in the West Indies.

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Arawakan (n.)
language group formerly widespread in the West Indies and South America, 1910, from the self-designation of the Arawak people on continental South America. They were identical with, or closely related to the natives whom Columbus encountered on the islands, who were historically called Taino.
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