Time In Jamaica

Travel Tips and Excursions

Jamaican Patois Phrases (A - L)

Animated  Mouth TalkingThe Jamaican everyday talk is usually mixed with a lot of Jamaican creole. Jamaican language is very colorful and full of proverbs, phrases, expressions, words and street talk. It is a very old part of the Jamaican traditions. Body language compliments the meaning of words said when speaking Jamaican. For example, it is impossible for one not to understand the meaning of “ataclaps” said with the right inflection, intonation, pitch and, most of all, body language “eyes wide and protruding, skin of forehead pulled back to meet the hairline, nostrils slightly flaring, and maybe accompanied with hand akimbo. Now you can see that the language is also visual and physical.

Let’s look at some popular Jamaican words, phrases and expression and there meaning. These words are listed in alphabetical order:

 

 

A

- (Short ‘a’ as in bat) Used to represent are, it is. Also used before words such as; where or what. Example, ‘A whe him a guh?’ (where is he going), A where ounu a cum fram? (where are you all coming from?)

Aback

- Ago, sometime back, sometime ago Example, ‘One week aback him gimme de car’ (one week ago he gave me the car)

A it mek

- That is the cause or reason Example, ‘dem nice an a it mek mi love dem’ (They are nice and for that reason I love them)

Anedda one

- Another one Example, ‘Gimme anedda one now’ (Give me another now)

Bad

- mind: covetous, envious

Batta-Batta

- badly squeezed, serious struggle, bruised, much struggle

Bawl

- (with the ‘a’ stressed) to cry. Example, ‘Nuh badda bawl fi him (don’t bother to cry for him)

Bex

- to be upset or vexed

Bwoy

- boy

Bredda

- Brother, Example, ‘Mi bredda older dan mi’ (my brother is older than I am)

Claffy

- A silly person, Example, ‘Dem bouy deh a claffy’ (those boys are silly)

Coil

- A wad of money

Craven

- Greedy, insatiable

Dey-deh

- There, or being in a particular place

- Example, 'dem did dey-deh last nite' (They were there last night)

Dem-deh

- Those

Dash weh belly

-An abortion. Example, ‘dem gal de dash weh belly’ (Those girls have had abortions)

Dem ya

- These

Dutty

- dirty, unclean

Earse

- ear

Ease-off

- Keep your distance

ear-seh

- rumour, hear-say

ear-so

- rumour, hear-say

ease mi up

- give me a break, another chance.Example, "de babylon ease mi up afta mi a drive fass" The police gave me chance when I was caught speeding

ease up

- lift up, slow down

Even-up

- assuming the liberties of friendship where it is not extended

Everything is everyt’ing

- Everything is O.K.

Extra

- Ostentatious, show-off, Example, ‘yu too extra’ (you are too show-off)

Fa’as

- to be inquisitive, example, ‘dem people deh too fa’as’ (those people are very inquisitive)

Fava

- resemble, looks like, example, ‘dem seh mi fava mi mada’ (they say that I resemble my mom)

Flex

- to keep company; hang out with

Gyal/Gal

- Girl

Ganja

- Marijuana

Gimmi

- give

Ginnal

- Con-man, trickster

Gorgan

- A thug

Green

- unpleasant underarm odor. Example,'Di man ina di bus smell green' (The man in the bus has an unpleasant odor)

Grinde

- To have sex

Grudgeful

- Envious

Guzzu

- Witchcraft

Gwey

- Go away

Gyow

- Not serious

(H)arbour-shak

- A greedy person

(H)eavy

- Armed, untouchable, influential

Herb

- Marijuana (depending on usage), example, ‘you smoke de herb?’ (Do you smoke marijuana?)

(H)ol it dung

- play it cool, keep it a secret

(H)ol tight

- be good

(H)ot-number

- a trendy girl, attractive girl/woman

Iah

- Term of friendship mostly used by Rastafarians like a pronoun e.g. "Yu seh it ihah" meaning "you said it"

Ilaloo

- calaloo (a green leafy vegetable)

Irie

- Good, great, super, example, ‘ Ina Jamaica yu wi find irie hotels an beaches’ (You will find great hotels and beaches in Jamaica)

Ital

- Salt-free food mostly eaten by Rastafarians

J.A.

- Jamaica

Jah-know

- An oath, same as (God knows)

Jam

- Capacity crowd, A party or to party, example, ‘Mi sey ina di city Jam wid people’ (In the city is crowded with people)

Jamdung

- slang for Jamaica

Jim-screechy

- Sneaky, clandestine

Jugglin

- Hustling

Junjo

- molds, mildews and fungus

Jukey-jukey

- Anything with thorns or prickles

Ketch

- to catch something

Kirr-out

- Clear off (mild expletive)

Kotch

- to stay temporarily a someone’s home, to perch self on a ledge, to hold open a door with a heavy object etc. Example, ‘Kotch di door fi mi’ (put and object to stop the door from closing)

Kuh/kuh deh

- Look there!

Labba-labba

- to talk or gossip excessively. Example, ‘She too labba-labba’ (She talks too much)

Lang-gut

- (long gut) gluttonous

Let-off

- to give something – money, food, sex

Lick

- hit or a blow to person or object. Example, ’Di driver mistakenly lick dung de pickney wid him bus’ (The driver accidentally hit down the child with his car.

Lick-out

- to speak out against

Licky-licky

- A freeloader, parasite, hanger on, very greedy

Livity

- A way of living, whether positively or negatively

 

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