- noun a white person. The word is said to be a backslang version of ‘foe’ in black American slang of the late 1960s. Another proposed etymology is the Yoruba word ofé, meaning a ju-ju or charm. The word probably originated earlier in the 20th century in the immigrant underworld as a code reference to the police and other authority figures. It is sometimes encountered in the phrase ‘ixnay ofay(s)’, meaning ‘no whites’.