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Rastafari / Patois Dictionary

Jamaica - Rastafari / Patois DictionaryWelcome to the Rastafari / Patois Dictionary – You travel next time to jamaica and you don´t speak patois / patwah?  Learn a little bit patois words here – Love & enjoy it! 🙂

Phrases / Proverbs

Last Update — 10/02/17



: Go to top of pageprep. to as in “go a shop,” from Spanish (7)
A GO : aux w/v. going to do, as in “Me a go tell him” (7)
A DOOR : outdoors. (5)
ACCOMPONG : n. name of Maroon warrior, Capt. Accompong, brother of Cudjo; also name of town. From the Twi name for the supreme deity (7)
ACKEE : n. African food tree introduced about 1778. From Twiankye or Kru akee (7)
AGONY : the sensations felt during sex (6)
AKS : ask (28)
ALIAS : adj. (urban slang) dangerous, violent (7)
AMSHOUSE : poorhouse (29)
AN : than (5)
ARMAGEDDON : the biblical final battle between the forces of good and evil (1)
ASHAM : n. Parched, sweetened, and ground corn. From twiosiam (7)


: Go to top of page1. the corrupt establishment, the “system,” Church and State 2. the police, a policeman (1)
BAD : good, great (2)
BAD BWAI : (bad boy) 1. refering to a bold man; a compliment 2. One who has committed a crime. (rude bwai, ruddy, baddy) (31)
BADNESS : hooligan behavior, violence for its own sake (1)
BAFAN : clumsy; awkward (5)
BAFANG : a child who did not learn to walk the 1st 2-7 years. (5)
BAG-O-WIRE : a betrayer (1)
BAGGY : underpants for a woman or child. (5)
BALMYARD : n. place where pocomania rites are held, healing is done, spells cast or lifted (7)
BAKRA : white slavemaster, or member of the ruling class in colonial days. Popular etymology: “back raw” (which he bestowed with a whip.) (5)
BALD-HEAD : a straight person; one without dreadlocks; one who works for babylon (2)
BAMBA YAY : by and by (7)
BAMBU : rolling paper (1)
BAMMY : a pancake made out of cassava, after it has been grated and squeezed to remove the bitter juice. (5)
BANDULU : bandit, criminal, one living by guile (1) a BANDULU BIZNESS is a racket, a swindle. (5)
BANGARANG : hubbub, uproar, disorder, disturbance. (5)
BANKRA : a big basket, including the type which hangs over the sides of a donkey. (5)
BANS : from bands; a whole lot, a great deal, nuff, whole heap. (5)
BANTON : a storyteller (50)
BASHMENT : party, dance, session (3)
BAT : butterfly or moth. English bat, the flying rodent, is a rat-bat. (5)
BATTY : bottom; backside; anus. (5)
BATTYBWOY : a gay person (6)
BEAST : a policeman (1)
BEEF : desirable woman (53)
BEENIE : little (36)
BEX : vex (verb), or vexed (adjective). (5)
BHUTTU (BUHTUH) : an uncouth, out of fashion, uncultured person Use: Wey yu a go inna dem deh cloze? Yu fayva buttu (12)
BIG BOUT YAH : Large and in charge. Superlative indicating status (power, fame, money, talent, etc) within some social group (12)
BISCUIT : a particularly attractive woman (46)
BISSY : cola nut. (5)
BOOPS/BOOPSIE : Boops is a man, often older, who supports a young woman; boopsie refers to a kept woman (46)
BLACK UP : To smoke weed. Like somene would ask “You Black up today?” Meaning did you smoke today? (14)
BLACKHEART MAN : a rascal, a hooligan (38)
BLOUSE AND SKIRT : common exclamation of surprise. (29)
BLY : chance, “must get a bly”, “must get a chance”. (4)
BOASIE : adj. proud, conceited, ostentatious. Combination of English boastful and Yoruba bosi-proud and ostentatious (7)
BOASIN TONE : Swollen penis or testicles (13)
BOBO : fool. (5)
BOBO DREAD : a rastafarian sect based on the teachings of Prince Emanuel Edwards distinguished by turbin-like headdresses, flowing white robes and communal living (50)
BODERATION : Boderation comes from the word bother and that’s basically what it means. If something is a boderation then it’s a bother. (29)
BONG BELLY PICKNEY : a greedy child who ate too much. (29)
BOONOONOONOUS : Meaning wonderful. (13)
BOX : To smack or to hit in the face. (13)
BRAA : from BREDDA; brother. (5)
BRAATA : a little extra; like the 13th cookie in a baker’s dozen; or an extra helping of food. In musical shows it has come to be the encore. (5)
BREDREN : one’s fellow male Rastas (1)
BRINDLE : to be angry (6)
BRINKS : title given to a man who is supplying a woman with money (6)
BUBU : fool. (5)
BUCKY : home-made gun (2) slave (29)
BUCKY MASSA : master over the slaves (29)
BUD : bird. (14)
BUFU-BUFU : fat, swollen, blubbery; too big; clumsy or lumbering.(5)
BUGUYAGA : a sloppy, dirty person, like a bum or tramp. (5)
BULL BUCKA : a bully (1)
BULLA : a comon sugar and flour cookie or small round cake, sold everywhere in Jamaica. (5)
BUMBA CLOT, (TO GET) BUN : to have one’s spouse or girl/boy-friend cheat on oneself, to be cheated out of something (6)
RAS CLOT, BLOOD CLOT : curse words (1)
BUCK UP : meet (28)
BUMBO : bottom; backside. A common curse word, especially in combination with CLOT (cloth), a reference to the days before toilet paper. (5)
BUTOO : a person of no class (53)
BUN : burn (29)
BUNGO : n. racially pejorative. Crude, black, ignorant, boorish person. From Hausa bunga-bumpkin, nincompoop (7)
BUNKS : to knock or bump against, from “to bounce” (5)
BUNKS MI RES : catch my rest, take a nap. (5)
BWOY : Boy (13)


: Go to top of pagea woman’s genitals (6)
CALLALOU : A spinach stew. (18)
CARD : to fool someone (6)
CEASE & SEKKLE! : stop everything and relax! (6)
CEPES : (n.) – beard (35)
CERACE : a ubiquitous vine used for boiling medicinal tea, and for bathing. It is proverbial for its bitterness.(5)
CHA! or CHO! : a disdainful expletive (1) pshaw! (2) very common, mild explanation expressing impatience, vexation or disappointment. (5)
CHAKA-CHAKA : messy, disorderly, untidy. (5)
CHALICE or CHILLUM : a pipe for smoking herb, usually made from coconut shell
or CHALEWA : and tubing, used ritually by Rastas (1)
CHAMPION : female of sexual prowess (53)
CHANT : (v.) – to sing, especially cultural or spiritual songs (35)
CHEAP : just as cheap, just as well. (5)
CHI CHI MAN : a gay man (6)
CHIMMY : chamber pot. (5)
CHO : very common, mild explanation expressing impatience, vexation or disappointment. (5)
CLAP : hit, break, stride (1)
CLOT : 1. cloth, an essential part of most Jamaican bad words, such as bumbo clot, rass clot, blood clot, etc. The essence of Jamaican cursing seems to be nastiness, rather than the blashemy or sexuality which is characteristic of the metropolitan countries.
2. to hit or strike – from the verb “to clout”. (5)
3. literally means a used tampon (31)
COCO : a potato-like edible root, known elsewhere as the taro or the eddo. It was brought to Jamaica from the South Pacific. This is completely distinct from cocoa, usually called chocolate. (5)
COCOBAY : another word for leprosy. Jamaicans use it to describe skin conditions that display bumps, warts or a scaly appearance. (49)
COIL : money (6)
COLD I UP : humiliate or be-little (29)
COME DUNG : come down, get ready (as to prepare to play a tune) (6)
COME EEN LIKE : to seem as if; to resemble. (5)
CONTROL : to be in charge of, responsible for, to own; to take (1)
COO ‘PON : v. (origin unclear) Look upon! (7)
COO YAH : v. (origin unclear) Look here! (7) pay attention (17)
COOL RUNNINGS : usually used at a time of departure on a long journey meaning have a safe trip (31)
COOLIE : the traditional Jamaican epithet for East Indians. It is never used It is never used for Chinese Jamaicans. Usually in the form coolie-man or coolie-oman. It is not considered polite today anymore than the term nega, but it is still used widely in rural areas. (5)
COLLIE : n. (urban slang) ganja (7)
COME YAH (cumyu) : come here. (17)
CORK UP : jammed, filled, crowded (2)
CORN : 1. marijuana 2. money 3. a bullet (1)
COTCH : verb (cotch up), to support something else, as with a forked stick; to balance something or place it temporarily; to beg someone a cotch, can be a place on a crowded bus seat or bench; or it may mean to cotch a while, to stay somewhere temporarily. (5)
COTTA : a roll of cloth or vegetation placed on top of the head to cushion the skull from the weight of a head load. (5)
CRAB : aside from it’s usual meaning, it is a verb meaning to scratch or claw. (5)
CRAVEN : greedy (5)
CRAVEN CHOKE PUPPY : someone who wants everything but when they get it , they can’t manage it.
CREATION STEPPER : means you step it in and throughout Babylon without fear – cuttin’ edge, livin’ on the edge, fear no foe. Lookin justice in the eye and saying, What are you doin ?”!! (29)
CRIS : crisp; popularly used for anything brand-new, slick-looking. (5)
CRISSARS : crisp, brand-new (2)
CROMANTY : adj. from Corromantee, Blacks from the Gold Coast believed to be rebellious (7)
CROCUS BAG : a very large sack made of coarse cloth, like burlap (10)
CROSSES : problems, vexations, trials; bad luck, misfortunes. (5)
CRUCIAL : serious, great, “hard,”, “dread” (1)
CU : verb, look! (5)
CU DEH! : look there! (5)
CU PAN : look at. (5)
CU YA! : look here! (5)
CU YU : To say “Look at you.” To the person you are refering to. (14)
CUBBITCH : covetous. (5)
CUDJO : n. name of famous Maroon warrior; mn born on Monday, from Fante, Twi kudwo (7)
CULTURE : reflecting or pertaining to the roots values and traditions highly respected by the Rastas (1)
CUSS-CUSS : a quarrel or fracas, with lots of cursing. (5)
CUT YAI : to cut your eye at somebody is a very common means of expressing scorn or contempt, for example; one catches the other person’s eye, then deliberately turns one’s own eyes as an insult. (5)
You can also cut your eye at somebody in a friendly way. (29)
CUTCHIE : pipe for communal smoking. (5)
CYA : 1. to care; “donkya”, don’t care, careless; “no kya” means no matter, as in “no kya weh im tun”, no matter where he turns.
2. to carry. (5)
CYAAN : can’t. (5)
CYAI : to carry. (5)
CYAN : can. (5)


: Go to top of pagea person who sings or scats along with dub music, sometimes called “toasting” (2)
DAAL : split peas, usually a thick soup, from Indian cuisine, from Hindi. (5)
DADA : father (6)
DALLY : executive zig-zag movements on wheels (2) or on foot (6) to ride a bicycle or motorbike with a weaving motion, as when ones weaves around potholes. (5)
DAN DADA : the highest of DON’S (6)
DAN : than (5)
DARKERS : sunglasses (6)
DASHEEN : a big soft yam-like root, often slightly greyish when cooked. It is related to the coco, but one eats the “head” instead of the tubers. (5)
DAWTA : a girl, woman, “sister,” girlfriend (1)
DEAD HOOD : (the H is silent) = A man that can’t perform sexually. Impotent. (14)(29)
DEADERS : meat, meat by-products (1)
DEESTANT : decent. (5)
DEGE or DEGE-DEGE : adjective, little, skimpy, measly, only, as in a two dege-dege banana. (5)
DEH : there (place) (6)
DEY : v. to be, exist, as in “No yam no dey”. From Ewe de or Twi de – to be (7)
DEY ‘PON : (aux. v.) – to be engaged in action or continuing activity (35) literally “there upon” As in “it dey pon de table”. (29)
DI : the (6)
DILDO MACCA : dangerous macca or thorn that will bore you up (29)
DINKI : a kind of traditional dance at funerals or “nine nights” (“set-ups”); now popular among school children. (5)
DIS or DIS YA : this (6)
DJEW : as a verb, rain a djew; as a noun, djew rain.
It means a light rain or drizzle. (5)
DOGHEART : a person who is especially cold and cruel (6)
DOKUNU : used to describe a popular dessert cooked in banana leaves. Also called tie-a-leaf and blue draws. (49)
DOLLY : executive zig-zag movements on wheels (2)
DON : one who is respected, master of a situation (6)
DONKYA : from “don’t care”; careless, sloppy, lacking ambition, etc. (5)
DOONDOOS : an albino. (5)
DOWNPRESSOR : preferred term for oppressor (1)
DOTI : “Dutty” means dirty, dirt or earth (19)(29)
(TO) DRAW CARD : the act of fooling someone (6)
DREAD : 1. a person with dreadlocks
2. a serious idea or thing
3. a dangerous situation or person
4. the “dreadful power of the holy”
5. experientially, “awesome, fearful confrontation of a people with a primordial but historically denied racial selfhood” (1)
DREADLOCKS : 1. hair that is neither combed nor cut 2. a person with dreadlocks (1)
DREADY : a friendly term for a fellow dread (1)
DUB : a roots electronic music, created by skillful, artistic re-engineering of recorded tracks (2)
DUB PLATE : A pre-release copy of a record, often produced exclusively for a specific sound system (see “sound system”). (46)
DUCK-ANTS : white ants, or termites. (5)
DUKUNU : sweet corn-meal dumplings boiled in wrapped leaves. (5)
DUNDUS : an albino. (5)
DUNGLE : n. legendary West Kingston slum surrounding a garbage dump, now cleared. (7) : From English dunghill
DUNS,DUNSA : money (1)
DUPPY : a ghost (1)
DUTCHY : dutch cooking pot, low round-bottomed heavy pot. (5)
DUTTY : dirty (17)
EASE-UP : Go to top of pageto forgive, to lighten up (6)
EVERYTING COOK & CURRY : all is well, all is taken care of (6)


: Go to top of pageCopycat (13)
FAS’ : to be fast with, meaning to be rude, impertinent, to meddle with sombody’s business, to be forward, etc. (5)Go to top of page
FASSY : eczema-like scratchy sores on the skin;
also a verb meaning to cause oneself to be covered with fassy by scratching. (5)
FAASTI (FIESTY) : impertinent, rude, impudent (35)
FAYVA : to favour, resemble, or look like; “fayva like” also means “it seems as if”. (5)
FE (FI) : the infinitive “to” as in “Have fe go” (7)
“a fe” Have to (28) “fe dem” their (28)
FEEL NO WAY : don’t take offense, don’t be sorry, don’t worry (1)
FENKY-FENKY : (from finicky) choosy, proud, stuck-up. (5)
FENNEH : v. to feel physical distress, pain. From Twi fene-to vomit; Fante fena-to be troubled; Lumba feno-to faint (7)
FI (FE) : possessive. “fi me”-“mine” (7) Can also mean “for” or “to”, as in “I ha’ fi”, I have to.
Yu num fi du dat = You are not to do that. (12)
Fe is Fi as in fi ar means hers
fi im – his
fi dem – theirs
fi you – yours
fi me – mine (29)
FIESTY (FAASTI) : impudent, rude, out of order, cheeky. (5)
FIRST LIGHT : tomorrow (1)
(HIM A) FISH : a gay person (6)
FIT : when used of fruits and vegetables, it means ready to pick, full grown, though not necessarily fully ripe. (5) also means in good shape. (“You haffe fit!”) (31)
FORWARD : 1. to go, move on, set out 2. in the future (1)
FRONTA : tobacco leaf used to roll herb (1)
FUCKERY : wrong, unfair (6)
FULLNESS, TO THE FULLNESS : completely, absolutely, totally (1)
FUNDS : Money (6)


: Go to top of pagean adverbial phrase; following a verb of liking or loving, it has a superlative meaning; Can be used in any context, such as “I love hafu yam gaan to bed!”. (5) means very much as in liking very much (29)
GALANG : go along. (23)
GANJA : herb, marijuana (1)
GANSEY : t-shirt, any knit shirt (2)
(TO) GET SALT : to be thwarted, to encounter misfortune (6)
GATES : home, yard (1)
GENERAL : cool operator (1)
GI : give (28)
GIG : spinning top. (5)
GILL : unit of measure like pint. (42)
GINNAL : n. trickster, con-man, an Amnancy figure as in “Sunday Ginnal”-a preacher or clergyman (7)
GLAMITY : a woman’s genitals (6)
GOODAS : female of impeccable reputation (53)
GORGON : outstanding dreadlocks (1) a dragon (29)
(DON) GORGON : outstanding dreadlocks, a person who is respected (2,6)
GRAVALICIOUS : greedy, avaricious. (5)
GRINDSMAN : one who displays great prowess in bed(6)
GROUNATION : large, island-wide meeting and celebration of Rastas (1)
GROUND : home, yard (4)


: Go to top of pageto hassle, bother, worry, trouble. As a noun, hackling. (5)
HAFFI : to have to… (6)
HAIL : a greeting (1)
HARBOUR SHARK : “Mr. Want-All” glutton, greedy, someone who wants it all. (29)
HARD : excellent, proficient, skillful, uncompromising (1) tough (29)
HARD EARS : stubborn, doesn’t listen (37)
HEETCH : itch. Many such words could be listed under H, as initial H is added to scores of words at will. (5)
HEAD MAN JANCRO : n. albino buzzard (7)
HERB : marijuana (1)
HIEZ-HAAD : ears-hard, thick skulled, stubborn, unwilling or unable to hear. (5)
HIEZ : ears. (5)
HIGGLERS : higglers, who are primarly woman who buy and sell goods that they have imported into the country. Some higglers, however, do not make trips out of the country to buy goods, but sell the goods that others import. The connection between higglers and dancehall culture is crucial as they form one of the strongest international links between JA, North America, and the Caribbean. (16)
HITEY-TITEY : upper class, high tone, “stoosh”. (5) someone who pretends to be better than they are (29)
HOMELY : to be relaxed, comfortable, enjoying your home surrounding. (14)
HOOD : penis. (5)
HORTICAL (DON) : respected, acclaimed (6)
HOT-STEPPER : fugitive from jail or gun court (1)
HUSH Other English speakers may hear this word and wonder why they’re being told to shut up but for Jamaicans, “hush” is an expression of empathy and/or sympathy. The word is useful in many different situations such as comforting someone who is sick or grieving, or empathizing with someone facing a problem at work. (49)


: Go to top of page(n.)- male Rastafarian (35)
I-MAN : I, me, mine (1)
I-NEY : a greeting (2)
I-REY : 1. a greeting 2. excellent, cool, highest (1)
I-SHENCE : herb (1)
I-TAL : vital, organic, natural, wholesome; refers to way of cooking and way of life (1) in colors, red, green and gold (2)
I-WAH : hour or time (43)
I : replaces “me”, “you”, “my”; replaces the first syllable of seleted words (1) I and I, I&I: I, me, you and me, we (1)
Rastafari speech eliminates you, me we, they, etc., as divisive and replaces same with communal I and I. I and I embraces the congregation in unity with the Most I (high) in an endless circle of inity (unity). (3)
IEZ-HAAD : ears-hard, thick skulled, stubborn, unwilling or unable to hear. (5)
IEZ : ears. (5)
ILIE : adj. literally, “highly”, valuable, exalted, even sacred (7)
IGNORANT : short-tempered, easy to vex, irate. (5)
INNA DI MORROWS : tomorrow (6)
INNA : In the (4)
IRIE : A Greeting. excellent, cool, highest (1)
adj. powerful and pleasing (7)
IRON BALLON : expression for singer who has not found his/her voice (54)
ISES/IZES/ISIS : praises (11) Praises to the almighty given by Rasta when calling on the name of Jah for strength and assistance for achieving progress in life. (30)
ISMS and SKISMS : negative term denoting Babylon’s classificatory systems (1)
ITES : 1. the heights
2. a greeting
3. the color red (1) great (2)
4. another word for irie. Or you use it to mean “OK” as in when someone asks you to do something for you, you would reply, “Ites.” (29)
IWA : certain time or hour (43)


: Go to top of pageJamaica (1)
JACKASS ROPE : homegrown tobacco, twisted into a rope. (5)
JAH KNOW : Lord knows (1)
JAH : God; possibly derived as a shortened form of Jahweh or Jehovah (1) Jah Ras Tafari, Haille Selassie, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, conquering Lion of Judah; rastas revere Haile Selassie as the personification of the Almighty (2)
JAMDUNG : Jamaica, “Jam” to press down “dung” down. Ironic reference to social and economic conditions of the masses (7)
JAMMIN : to be having a good time, to be dancing calypso/soca (6)
JANCRO : n. literally John Crow, buzzard (7)
JANGA : shrimp, crayfish. (5)
JELLY : a young coconut, full of jelly. (5)
JON CONNU : n. (John Canoe). Bands of elaborately masked dancers appearing around Christmas. They ressemble the ancestral dancers of West Africa, but the ety. of the word is unclear. (7)
JOOK : to pierce or stick, as with a thorn or a long pointed stick. (5) also used in a sexual context (29)
JOOKS : hangout, relax (29)
JUDGIN’ : adjective, everyday or ordinary clothes or shoes worn in the yard or in the bush, as in “judgin’ boot”. Also as a verb, to judge, with a similar meaning. (5)
JUU : as a verb, rain a juu; as a noun, juu rain. It means a light rain or drizzle. (5)


: Go to top of pageunreliable. a shoddy job or a person who works shoddily. (49)
KALI; COOLY : marijuana (1)
KALLALOO : a dark, green leafy vegetable, very nutritious and cheap. (5)
KASS KASS : n. quarrel or contention. From combination of English curse or cuss, and Twi kasa kasa-to dispute verbally (7)
KATA : a roll of cloth or vegetation placed on top of the head to cushion the skull from the weight of a head load. (5)
KAYA : see ganja (4)
KETCH UP : grapple (28) get in a fight (29)
KETCHY-CHUBY : It can be a sexual term meaning the man throw it and the woman catch it! It can also mean a game – life’s game, how to see through today to meet tomorrowand all the games of life as in “life is just a ketchy-chuby game.” (29)
KEMPS : a little bit, a tiny piece, from skimps. (5)
KIN TEET : “skin teeth” to laugh at someone or give them a plastic smile, sometimes used derogatorily as in “A little kin-teet bwoy.” (29)
KISS ME NECK! : common exclamation of surprise. (5)
KISS TEET : to kiss one’s teeth or to suck one’s teeth is to make the very common hissing noise of disappoval, dislike, vexation or disappointment. (5)
KOUCHIE : bowl of a chalice or chillum pipe (1)
KRENG-KRENG : an old-fashioned meat rack, hung up high over the fire to catch the smoke. (5)
KUMINA : n. Ecstatic dance for the purpose of communicating with ancestors. From Twi akom-to be possessed and ana-by an ancestor (7)


: Go to top of pageto chat, gab; gossip. (5)
LABRISH : gossip, chit-chat. (5)
LAGGA HEAD : Dumb acts as if you have no common sense. Stupid. “yu dam Lagga head bud” (14)
LAMBSBREAD : a form of high-quality marijuana (1)
LARGE : respected (6)
LET OFF : pay out (28)
LEGGO BEAS’ : wild, disorderly, like a let-go beast. (5)
LICK : To hit (13)
LICKY-LICKY : fawning, flattering, obsequious. (5)
LIKKLE : little (29)
LILLY BIT : little bit, tiny. (5)
LION : a righteous Dread (1) a great soul (2)
LIKKLE MORE : see you later (2)
(TOO) LIKKY-LIKKY : title given to those who like to eat any food they encounter , without discretion (6)


: Go to top of pagea gay person, an effeminate man, a weakling (6)
MAAS : n. from master or massa. Now freed from its class origin; a respectful form of address to an older man. (7) chill out, be by ones self for a while (24)
MACCA : thorn, prickle. dangerous. (29)
MACCA BACK : boney fish used to make fish soup (29)
MADDA : mother (6)
MAFIA : big-time criminals (1)
MAGA DOG : mongrel (4)
MAGA : thin (2) (from meagre) (5)
MAMPI : Fat or overweight (13)
MANACLES : chains (11)
MANNERS : under heavy discipline or punishment. for example when Kingston is under “heavy manners”, they have a curfew or call out the army. (10)
MARINA : a man’s undershirt, guernsey; a tank-top style. (5)
MAROON : n. free black warrior-communities which successfully resisted British hegemony during eighteenth century and early nineteenth century. From Spanish cimmaron- untamed, wild (7)
MASCOT : denoting inferior status (2)
MASH IT UP : a huge success (1)
MASH UP, MASH DOWN : destroy (1)
MASSIVE : respected (6), used with LARGE to add emphasis
MATEY : mistress (12)
MEK WE : Let Us. (4)
MENELIK, RAS : n. Ethiopian nobleman who rallied his troops to resist Italian aggression. Defeated Italians at Adowa 1896 (7)
MONKS : amongst. (5)
MORE TIME : see you later (1)
MR. MENTION : Talk of the town, originally talk of the females signifying someone with many female conquests
MR. T : the boss (2)
MUMU : a dumb or foolish person. (49)
MUS MUS : a rat (4)
MY BABY MOTHER/FATHER : the mother/father of my child (1,6)
MYAL : n. a form of benign magic oposed to Obeah, hence myalman. From Hursa maye-wizard, person of mystic power. (7)


: Go to top of pagen. pejorative for a black person (7)
NAGO : n. Yoruba person, practice or language. From Ewe anago-Yoruba person (7)
NAH : adv. will not. Emphatic as in “Me nah do that” (7)
NANA : midwife; nanny or nurse. (5)
NANNY GOAT : “What sweet nanny goat a go run him belly” is a cautionary Jamaican proverb which translated means: What tastes good to a goat will ruin his belly. In other words – the things that seem good to you now, can hurt you later… (10)
NASH : female genatalia (6)
NATTY, NATTY DREAD, NATTY CONGO : 1. dreadlocks 2. a person with dreadlocks (1)
NAZARITE : Ancient Hebrew meaning to “separate”, consecrated, set apart by choice and devotion (1)
NICE UP : to promote and foster a positive feeling. to “nice up the dance” means to get the party going (50)
NIYABINGHI : 1. “death to all black and white oppressors”
2. East African warriors who resisted colonial domination
3. large Rastafarian meeting and spiritual gathering
4. referring to orthodox, traditional Rastas
5. a variety of drumming (1)
NIYAMEN : name for Rastas referring to Niyabinghi warriors of East Africa (1)
NO CYA : no matter, as in “no kya weh im tun”, no matter where he turns. (5)
NOTCH : Don or top ranking badman (33)
NUH : interrogative at end of sentence; literally, “Is it not so?” (7)
NUH NUTTIN : not a big deal (17)
NUH TRUE? : isn’t it so? (1)
NYAM : to eat. (5)
(TOO) NYAMI-NYAMI : title given to those who like to eat any food they encounter, without discretion (6)
NYING’I-NYING’I : nagging, whining. (5)


: Go to top of pageboiled maize bread. (5)
OBEAH : traditional African “science”, relating to matters of the spirit and spirits, spells, divinations, omens, extra-sensory knowledge, etc. (5)
OHT FI : about to, on the vergeof, as in “it hoht fi rain”, it is about to rain, it looks like rain. (5)
ONE DROP : A popular type of rhythm pattern used on countless reggae records (46)
ONE LOVE : a parting phrase, expression of unity (1)
ONE-ONE : adjective, one by one, thus any small amount. (5)
ONGLE : only. (5)
PAKI : Go to top of pagecalabash, gourd. (5)
PAPAA : pawpaw, or papaya melon. (5)
PASSA PASSA : gossip (53)
PATTAN : pattern, style and fashion (39)
PATU : owl. (5)
PAYAKA : heathen (11) craven, want it all (29)
PYAKA : tricky or dishonest. (10)
PEEL-HEAD : bald-headed, usually certain chickens or vultures. (5)
PEENYWALLY : a kind of large fire fly, actually a type of flying beetle. (5)
PEER : avocado pear. (5)
PHENSIC : JA equivalent to Tylenol, Excedrin, etc. (26)
PICKY, PICKY HEAD : brush haircut (3)
PICKY-PICKY : 1. finicky or choosy
2. Used of uncombed hair just starting to turn into dreadlocks. (5)
PIKNY : pickaninny, child. (5)
PINDA : peanut. (5)
PIRA : a low wooden stool. (5)
PITY-ME-LIKL : a type of very tiny red ant whose bite is so hot and long-lasting it resembles a sting. (5)
POCOMANIA, POCO : christian revival, distinct drum rhythm (2)
POLYTRICKS : politics (by Peter Tosh) (6)
POLYTRICKSTERS : politicians (by Peter Tosh) (6)
POPPY-SHOW : from puppet show, it is used in the idiom, tek smadi mek poppy-show, which means to make fun of someone or shame them, making them look ridiculous. (5)
PUM-PUM : a woman’s genitals (6)
PUNAANI or PUNNI : a woman’s genitals (6)
PUPPALICK : somersalt. (5)
PUSSY CLOT : A curse word ref. to a woman’s sanitary napkin. (14)
PUTTIN’ AWAY : a preposition, meaning “except for”, or “except”. (5)
PYAA-PYAA : sickly, weak; feeble, of no account. (5)
PYU : from spew; verb used of running sores or anything similarly dripping or oozing. (5)


: Go to top of pagen. peasant, country bumpkin, coarse and stupid person; racial pejorative generic term for blacks; originally Twi name of a boy born on a Sunday (7)
QUIPS : 1. nouns (from squips) a tiny piece or amount.
2. verb, the Jamaican art of washing clothes making a “squips-squips” sound. (5)


: Go to top of pagea common mild expletive of surprise or vexation, as in “to raatid!”. It is likely a polite permutation of “ras”, a la “gosh” or “heck”. (5)
RAGGA : A style of reggae that uses digital rhythms exclusively. A term sometimes used interchangably with dancehall, since the latter music has become heavily digitized as well. (46)
RAGGAMUFFIN : jamaican ghetto dweller (46)
RAM : full up (28)
RAM GOAT : slang for someone who deals with nuff ladies (17)
RANKING : highly respected (1)
RAS or RASS : backside, rump; a common curse is to rass! or rass clot!a title used by Rastafarians meaning “lord” or “head”. (5)
(TO) RAAS : “really?”, “damn!”(6)
RASTA, RASTAFARIAN : a follower of Marcus Garvey who worships the Almighty in the person of haile Selassie
RAT-BAT : bat, the night-flying rodent. (5)
RATCHET : a switchblade knife popular in Jamaica (1)
RAW : unbearably hungry (53)
RED : 1. very high on herb 2. mulatto color (1)
RED EYE : to want another persons belonging, envious. “You too red eye”, meaning, you’re too envious. (14)
RED IBO : a person with light skin or a mulatto of mixed parentage, often used derogatively. (49)
RAHTID : expression of surprise, or to be enraged. From biblical”wrothed” (7)
RENK : 1. foul-smelling, raw-smelling.
2. out of order, impudent, as in a rank-imposter. “Yu too renk!”. (5) fiesty (29)
RHAATID : a curse-exclamation, similar to “what the hell” (6)
To rahtid —> Exclamination!!, i.e Wow! a milder form to Rass…excitement!! (40)
RHYGIN : adj. spirited, vigorous, lively, passionate with great vitality and force; also sexually provocative and aggressive. Probably a form of English raging. (7) Inspired by the character played by Jimmy Cliff in the Perry Henzel Jamaican classic movie “The Harder They Come” 1972 (57)
RIZZLA : brand of rolling paper. (3)
ROCKERS : reggae music (1) reggae music as it is played today,the latest sound (2)
ROOTS : 1. derived from the experience of the common people, natural indigenous
2. a greeting
3. name for a fellow Rasta (1)
ROTI : flat Indian pan breads. (5)
ROYAL, (RIAL) : n. offspring of some other race and black, ass in “Chiney-Rial,” “coolie-rial”; humorous as in “monkey-rial” (7)
RUDE BOY : a criminal, a hard hearted person, a tough guy (6)
RUN-DUNG : food cooked in coconut juice, obtained after grating the dry coconut meat and squeezing it in water, thus extracting the coconut cream. (5)
RUNNING BELLY : diarrhea (12)
RYAL : royal. (5)


: Go to top of page1. dishes cooked with saltfish or meat.
2. that part of the meal which is served with the “food” (starchy food, ground food).
3. by some strange extension, the female organ, often simply called “sal”. (5) the food that goes with the rice, potatoes or starchy food; like calalloo, fish and sauce, sauces or gravy (29)
SALT : adjective, broke, empty-handed, low on funds or food, as in “tings salt” or “i’ salt”. (5)
SAMBO : the colour between brown and black; someone who is a cross between a mullatto (brown) and a black. (5)
SAMFAI MAN : trickster, conman. (5)
SHAMPATA : n. sandal of wood or tire rubber. Span. zapato (7)
SANFI : A manipulator – dishonest person. A person that will sweet talk you out of love and money. “Dam Sanfi Bitch”. (14)
SANKEY : n. religious song of a paticularly lugubrious tone, sung in the long or common meter. From Ira David Sankey, evangelist and hymnalist (7)
SAPS : a weakling, loser (53)
SATA : to rejoice, to meditate, to give thanks and praise. (5)
SATTA : sit, rest, meditate (1) relax (6)
(GO) SATTA : claim how spiritual you are (11)
SCIENCE : obeah, witchcraft (1)
SCIENTIST : occult practitioner (2)
SCOUT : denoting inferior status (6)
SCREECHIE : to sneak by (6)
SCREW : to scowl, to be angry (1)
SEEN : I understand, I agree (1)
SEEN? : Do you understand? (6)
SHAG : home-cured tobacco, straight from the field. (5)
SHAKE OUT : leave without haste, casually (2)
SHEG (UP) : verb, to bother, as in “all sheg up”, all hot and bothered, or or spoiled up (as of work). (5)
SHEG-UP : to be messed up, ruined (6)
SHEPHERD : n. leader of revivalist cult; also proprietor of balmyard, healer and prophet (7)
SHOOB : to shove. (5)
SIDUNG : sit down (6)
SIGHT? : do you understand? (1)
SINKL-BIBLE : the aloevera plant. (5)
SINSEMILLA, SENSIE : popular, potent, seedless, unpollinated female strain of marijuana (1)
SINTING : something. (5)
SIPPLE : slippery; slimy. (5)
SISTER, SISTREN : a woman, a friend, woman Rastafarians (1)
SITTIN’ : something. (5)
SKANK : to dance to reggae music (1) to move with cunning, ulterior motives (2)
SKIL : kiln, as in “limeskil”. (5)
SKIN : rolling paper (1)
SKIN YOUR TEETH : smile (1) plastic smile (29)
SLABBA-SLABBA : big and fat, slobby, droopy. (5)
SLACKNESS : lewd, vulgar lyrics popular in DJ singing (4)
SLACKY TIDY : unkept or messy (29)
SLAP WEH : awesome, or great. (55)
SMADI : somebody. (5)
SO-SO : only, solely, unaccompanied. (5) weak, pallid (6)
SOFT : not well done, amateurish; unable to cope (1)
broke, no money (2)
SOUNDBWOY : usually a derogatory way to refer to the selecter or other personality in another sound system. This term is most often employed in clashes, on dub plates built for clashes, and so on. Sometimes it is not used in such a negative manner, but most of the time one refers to the someone in the crew as a soundman, not a boy. (17)
SOUND SYSTEM : Huge mobile stereo setups manned by DJs, who became celebrities as they traveled Jamaica to host open-air dances (46)
SPLIFF : large, cone-shaped marijuana cigarette (1)
SPRING : to sprout, as of yams or cocos, making them inedible. (5)
STAR : common term of affection, camaraderie (1)
STEP : to leave, to depart (1) briskly, quickly (2)
STOOSH/STOSHUS : upper class, high tone, “hitey-titey”. (5)
STRING UP : a muscial rehearsal (2)
STRUCTURE : body, health (1)
SU-SU : gossip, the sound of wispering. (5)
SUFFERER : a poor person stuggling to survive (2)
SUPM, SINTING : something (6)


: Go to top of pagebullet (2)
TACUMAH : n. character in Anancy tales. Said to be the son of Anancy. Twin’ticuma (7)
TAKARI/TANKARI : stewed spicy pumpkin. (5)
TALL : long (1)
TALLOWAH : adj. sturdy, strong, fearless, physically capable. From Ewe talala (7)
TAM : deep woolen hat, used by Dreads to cover their locks (1,6)
TAMBRAN SWITCH : n. a flail made from the wiry branches of the Tamarind tree, braided and oiled. Effective and much feared in the hands of Babylon. (7)
TAN’ : to stand; usually used in the sense of “to be”. “A so im tan”, “that is what he is like”; “tan deh!” or “yu tan deh!” means “just you wait!”. “Tan tedy”, stand steady, means “hold still”. (5)
TARRA-WARRA : a polite way of expressing omitted bad words, a verbal asterisk. (5)
TATA : n. father. Affectionate and respectful title for an old man. Fram many african languages. Ewe, Ge, N’gombe (7)
TATU : a little thatched hut, often made of bamboo. (5)
TEETH : bullets (2)
TEIF : a theif, to steal (6)
THE I : (pron.) -you, yourself, yours (35)
THRU’ : because (28)
TOAST : (v.) – to rap or sing spontaneously over a dub track (35)
TOTO : coconut cake. (5)
TOPANORIS : uptown snobby person. (10) wealthy but mean behind it (29)
TRACE : to curse or speak abusively to someone. (5)
TRANSPORT : vehicle (1)
TUMPA : from stump, as in “tumpa-foot man”, a one-foot man. (5)
TUNTI : female organ. (5)


: Go to top of pageyou-all. (5) pron. you, plural. In usage close to Afro-American y’awl. From Ibo unu, same meaning (7)
UPFUL : postitive, encouraging (2)
UPHILL : positive, righteous (1)
UPTOWN : the upper classes (1)


: Go to top of page(v.) – to vanquish, conquer (35)
VEX : to get angry (1)


: Go to top of pageadverbial phrase, the other day. (5)
WA MEK? : why?
WHAFEDOO : we’ll have to (make) do or we’ll have to deal with it (37)
WAKL : wattle, a kind of woven bamboo work used to make house walls. (5)
WAGGONIST : someone who jumps on a cause but is not fundamentally committed. Just on for the ride. (19)
WANGA-GUT : hungry-belly. (5)
WARRA-WARRA : politely omitted bad words, same as “tarra-warra”. (5)
WENCHMAN : a kind of fish, “hail brother john, have you any wenchman?” (from “Row Fisherman Row”). (10)
WH’APPEN? : what’s happening? (4)
WHATLEF : What’s left over (7)
WHEELS : vehicle (6)
WHOLE HEAP : a lot (1)
WINE : “wine” appears in every West Indian dialect, and is literally a corruption of “wind.” It means to dance, sometimes seductively. (17)
WINJY : thin and sickly looking. (5)
WIS : vine, liana, from withe. (5)
WOLF : a non-rasta deadlocks (2)
WOOD : penis. (5)


: Go to top of pageyou know? (1)
YA : hear, or here. (5)
YABBA : a big clay pot. (5)
YAGA YAGA : Dancehall slang. a way to big up a brethren; to express a greeting or attract attention, i.e. yo! or yush! true friend; bonafide; brethren. (9)
YAHSO : here (place) (6)
YAI : eye. (5)
YARD : home, one’s gates (1) tenement (2)
YOUTH : a child, a young man, an immature man (1)
YUSH : Yush talk is bad boy talk. Or it can be a way of saying “YO”. In other words it is a way for rude boys to hail each other up. (27)


: Go to top of pageEthiopia, Africa, the Rastafarian holy land (1)
ZUNGU PAN : zinc pan. (5)


“Me come yah fi drink milk, me no come yah fi count cow!” (Deliver that which you promised, don’t just talk about it!) (15) stay out of trouble or gossip. Means I came here to (whatever you came for) not get involved in politics or gossip. (29)

“Carry Go Bring Come” (gossip) (12)

“A so im tan” (that is what he is like) “tan deh!” or “yu tan deh!” (just you wait!) “Tan tedy”, stand steady, means “hold still”. (5)

Bunks Mi Res (catch my rest, take a nap) (5)

“yu dam Lagga head bud” (stupid) (14)

“What sweet nanny goat a go run him belly” is a cautionary Jamaican proverb which translated means: What tastes good to a goat will ruin his belly. In other words – the things that seem good to you now, can hurt you later… (10)

“tek smadi mek poppy-show”, which means to make fun of someone or shame them, making them look ridiculous. (5)

“You too red eye” (meaning, you’re too envious) (14)

Ya No See It? (you know?) (1)

“the gal come wine up on me,” it would mean that the girl came and was dancing up on me. (17)

“Chicken merry; hawk deh (is) near”, it’s a Jamaican proverb which simply means, every silver lining has its dark cloud Even in the happiest times one must still be watchful. (22)

“Fire de a Mus Mus tail, him tink a cool breeze”. Set a Rat’s tail on fire and he’s thinks there’s a cool breeze. Used to describe someone or something (the system for example) that is clueless. (4) This characterizes the delusional complacency of the upper classes. (22)

“Me bleach hard lass night” i partied straight through the night. (20)

“A promise is a comfort to a fool”. (4)

“coo pon dat bwoy”, “look at that boy” (17)

“Mi no come yah fi hear bout how horse dead an cow fat” It’s like telling somebody to knock off with irrelevant details. (21) (29)

“Me throw me corn but me no call no fowl” It evokes the image of a farmer silently scattering who is saying, in effect: “Don’t call yourself a chicken just because you eat my feed; I never said I was endeavoring to feed the chickens.” That is, “You are who you show yourself to be, not who you might say you are.” (21)

“Sorry for maga dog, maga dog turn round bite you”. This metaphor extends very well to all manner and sort of do-gooding and should be considered before any hasty acts of charity! (22) giving help to someone and they show no sign of thanks and may even scorn you for it. (29)

“Mi throw mi corn, but me no call no fowl”. refers to the conversational technique of throwing out a provocative statement (throw corn) in an indirect manner, thus forestalling any accusations of personal insult. (22)

“Sweet nanny goat have a running belly”. It’s a barnyard analogy akin to the grass is always greener, but much coarser, noting that the sweet foliage avidly sought out by the nanny goat gives it diarrhea (running belly). It’s a blunt way of warning someone off temptation. (22)

“cock mouth kill cock” really can’t be expanded upon any further, nor can the similar “If a fish coulda keep him mout’ shut, him would neva get caught”. (22) somebody who chat too much (29)

“Everyting Crash”. The topic is social chaos. Also, “come bad in de morning can’t come good a evenin'”, and the even more pessimistic “every day bucket go a well, one day di bucket bottom mus drop out”. (22) Mashin up of one’s plans (29)

“Wanti wanti can’t get it, getti getti no want it”, i.e., the Have-nots covet what the Haves take for granted. (22)

“Trouble no set like rain”, that is, unlike bad weather, we are often not warned by dark clouds on the horizon. (22) reminder to be careful (29)

Jamaican proverbs consistently counsel patience and forebearance, as in the beautiful image “time longer than rope”. The child must “creep before him walk”. And remember, “one one coco fill up a basket”, take it easy and fill up your shopping basket one item at a time. (22)

“Every mikkle makes a muckle”, refers to thriftiness, similar to “a penny saved is a penny earned”. (22)

“No cup no broke, no coffee no dash wey”. Even if disaster strikes your home it’s always possible that all may not be lost. (22) you don’t make a fuss there won’t be a fight. (29)

“Wha eye no see, heart no leap” means that something terrible could happen but if you don’t see it, you are not frightened. (29)

“mi come here fi drink milk, mi noh come here fi count cow”. A remimder to conduct business in a straightforward manner. (22)

“The higher the monkey climbs the more him expose”. A truly comic image if you’ve ever been to the zoo, and comforting to any of us whose backs have been used as a stepping-stone for someone else’s success. (22)

“A city upon the hill cannot be hidden.” same as above (29)

“A new broom sweeps clean, but an old broom knows every corner”. A profoundly witty statement that sums up any number of current situations, including the state of today’s music. (22) often used in man and woman relationships as in “your new man buff and ting but the old man know where it sweet you.” In other words, the new broom may look better but the old broom has understanding bout tings! (29)

“dry land tourist”. A Jamaican who’s never been off the island but still acts like a big shot. (10) Someone who acts topanorish and has nothing (29)

“no one cyaan test” . no one can compete with. (24)

“Mi a-go lef today”. “I am leaving today” (25)

“Im too hard of Aise”. “He/She is too hard of ears” (25)

“Him is badda than dem” “No badda mi”. “He is worse than they are” “Don’t bother me” (25)

“Is bare dog down inna that yard”. “Is only dogs in that yard” (25)

“No badda bawl im soon come back”. “Don’t bother crying he’ll soon be back (25)

“Dat is fe mi bredda”. “That is my brother” (25)

“The chuck need tree new tyres”. “The truck will need three new tire” (25)

“Cuyah, she gwan like she nice eee”. “Look at that, she acts like she is so nice” (25)

“Choble nuh nice” “Yuh ina big choble”. “Trouble is not nice” “You are in big trouble” (25)

“Did yuh see dat?” “A who dat?” “Did you see that” “Who is that” (25)

” Yuh no dun yet?”. “You have not finished yet?” (25)

” Is the dutty duppy man dweet”. “The dirty ghost do it” (25)

“Ef yuh choble him ‘im me a-go hit yuh”. “If you trouble him I am going to hit you” (25)

“All a dem a me fambly”. “All of them are my family” (25)

“mek we dweet”. “Let us do it” (4)

” Yuh too fass and Facety”. “You are too inquisitive and fresh” (25)

“Galang bout yuh business”. “Go along about you business” (25)

“Mi back a hat mi”. “My back is hurting me” (25)

“An a jus Lass nite mi dideh”. “And it was just last nigh I was there” (25)

“Lef mi Nuh”. “Leave me alone.” (25)

“Tek de neegle an sow de piece of clawt”. “Take the needle and sow the piece of cloth” (25)

“How yuh nyam so much”. “How do you eat so much.” (25)

“Is Mr Garden pickney dem”. “It is Mr. Gordon children.” (25)

“Mi would rada you talk to mi” Translation : “I would rather you not talk to me”

“Tandy tink sey im a-go help you.” “Stand there thinking he is going to help you.” (25)

“Tek you time an mine it bruk”. “Take your time, you might break it.” (25)

“Wat a liiv an bambaie” Leftovers put aside to eat tomorrow (What is left for by-and by). (8)

“gone a foreign” Gone abroad (from Jamaica) (28)

“like mi a go maas” chil out (24)

“gwaan go maas” go cool yourself (24)

“mi a maas a money” (or item), it means you’re going to put it away or put it one side (24)

“Every hoe ha dem stick a bush.” The meaning of all that is “to each his own” It literally translates that for every size hoe there is a stick that size in the bush (or forest) for it. In JA they use tools similar to garden hoe. Theyuse it to make yam hill – we use it to make path. There are different sizes for different chores. So it can also mean that there is someone out there for everyone. (29)

“tan so back” (stand so back) laid back (31)

“a peer rumors ah gwan” “Its pure rumors that are going on” in other words “Its all only rumors that’s being spread” (32)

“did deh deh” “I was there” (34)

“Im sey dat yuh was to bring ting” “He or She said you were to bring the thing” (25)

“Sumody tell mi sey yuh dida talk bout mi” “Somebody told me you were talking about me.” (25)

“Unnu can come wid mi” “You all can come with me.” (25)

“I dey ‘pon haste” – “I am in a hurry” (35)

“Who colt de game” – it implies that someone made a wrong move, deliberately, to change the outcome of the plan. So who colt the game? Babylon! In other words… to prevent the Dread from succeeding, babylon colt the game, made a “wrong” move in regards to the dread (40)

“Why yu fe galang so”? – “why must you behave in such a manner?” (41)

“mek mi kibba mi mouth to rahtid” – “let me cover my mouth… let shut my mouth..” (40)

“tea tar toe” – Tea tar toe is a game that uses three pieces (like buttons or stones) and to win all three have to be in line and the pieces are called out “tea, tar, toe”. So one could say “Don’t play tea tar toe with me” to mean “Don’t toy with me” , etc. (29)

“buy off the bar” – the party’s going good and all the liquor’s been sold! (29)

“Water more than flour” – “time tough.” It’s like you’re makin’ dumplin and you have enough water but not enough flour. (29)

Johncrow feel cool breeze is a very old JA proverb that roughly means someone who, much like a johncrow, jumps at any opportunity to prey on someone else. Stephen Marley uses the line in “Rebel in Disguise from the “Joy and Blues” album. (44)

After the cane is cut, everything is taken away except the brown root, which is basically useless. And the field workers, being poor, wear a kind of cheap flip flop called a “booga wooga.” So if you see Miss Brown downtown and she’s got brown sugar all over her booga wooga, it means she’s a canefield worker. (44)

“Is just pure almshouse a gwaan”. Pure trickery going on. (29)

“Rat a Cut Bottle”. even a rat needs some broken glass for self-defense when times are really rough (4)

“No call alligator ‘long mouth’ ’til you pass him.” (44)

“If you want good, nose a fe run.” “That mean, if you’re working in the U.S. or if you are working anywhere, and then by multitude of rain, flood or winter, you lie down in bed because you don’t want to have a runny nose – you’re going to starve. So if you want to get any good out deh, you have to go out deh and get that runny nose. You have to be in the cold. So your nose a fe run.” (45)

“Tek set pon you”. when somebody just won’t leave you alone! (29)

“Nuttin’ nah go right” – nothing’s going on in the right way. (46)

“‘Wan Wan coco full baskit” – The basket can be filled by adding one coco at a time. You may not be able to put in all at the same time. (Coco is an edible tuber which helps to give body to a good pot of soup). Do not expect to achieve success overnight. (48)

“Mi a-go lef today” – I am leaving today (49)

“Lef mi nuh” – leave me alone (49)

“The stone that the builder refuse will be the head corner stone” – That which we reject, we eventually embrace (51)

“Pound Get A Blow” – Jamaican money used to be pounds and when it got changed to dollars, the pound is dead (29)

“Inna Di Red” – Speaker is centrally involved in any or everything. The saying comes from the analogy of an egg. (56)

“so mi go so dem” = “so mi go so den” = “so mi go so then” This phrase is used in reggae/dancehall songs and made popular by recording artiste Sean Paul, which he includes in several of his songs such as the song titled “Like Glue”. In the context of his songs it basically means “So let me tell you this” OR “So listen to me now” “so mi go so” is more widely used and means “So I’m Like” (55)

“Yuh free paper bun” “Your free time is up!” This phrase is usually said in reference to school children returning to school at the end of the two-month summer break. (49)

“What is fiyu cyaa be un-fiyu” Whatever is meant for you can never be taken away from you. The phrase is usually said to someone who has overcome many challenges to achieve their goals. (49)

“Eat a food” This is a fairly new phrase that has become quite popular. The message in this expression is to seize all opportunities that come within your reach. (49)

“Jus buil!” (bill) This phrase is usually meant to calm a situation or advise someone not to get too worked up in order to de-escalate an argument. (49)

“Work me a work, anuh chicken me a jerk” Simply put, “I came here to work, not to waste time or play around”. The phrase indicates that the speaker is serious about the task at hand and can also be said as a caution to others not to underestimate their abilities. (49)

“Put clothes pon yuh argument” This is a new expression that’s a way of saying “mind what you’re saying” or “show some respect while speaking to me”. (49)

“Yuh salt bad!” When a Jamaican calls you “salt” it means that you’re very unlucky. The phrase is often used in reacting to a series of unfortunate events or when someone experiences a major disappointment. (49)

“Yuh seet!” This literally translates to “you see it” but is closer in meaning to “I see”. It’s used as a form of acknowledgment to show agreement with what is being said. (49) Go to top of page


  1. Reggae International, Stephen Davis, Peter Simon, R&B, 1982
  2. KSBR 88.5 FM, Laguna Beach, CA. Handout.
  3. posted on rec.music.reggae
  4. Mike Pawka, Jammin Reggae Archives Cybrarian
  5. Understanding Jamaican Patois, L. Emilie Adams, Kingston
  6. Richard Dennison/Michio Ogata
  7. Glossary from “The Harder They Come” (Bo Peterson)
  8. Norman Redington
  9. The Beat
  10. Allen Kaatz
  11. Jah Bill (William Just)
  12. Arlene Laing
  13. Jennifer G. Graham
  14. Norma Brown/Zoe Una Vella Veda
  15. Richard V. Helmbrecht
  16. Norman Stolzoff
  17. Christopher Edmonds
  18. Lisa Watson
  19. Dr. Carolyn Cooper
  20. Ras Adam
  21. Chip Platt
  22. Michael Turner from an article in “The Beat”
  23. Nicky “Dread” Taylor
  24. Simrete McLean
  25. The Unofficial Web Site on Jamaica
  26. Paul Mowatt
  27. Carlos Culture
  28. Liner Notes – Blood & Fire release: Jah Stitch:
    “Original Ragga Muffin”, presumably Steve Barrow
  29. Clinton Fearon – Original member of the Gladiators/
    Barbara Kennedy
  30. Itations of Jamaica and i Rastafari
  31. Phil “Bassy” Ajaj
  32. Karlene Rogers
  33. Dean Holland
  34. Scottie Lake
  35. Roger Steffen’s Supersite
  36. Sara Gurgen
  37. Kevin Robison
  38. Christopher Durning
  39. Ronald E. Lam
  40. Trainer Adams – Editor of Dub Missive magazine.
  41. Karlene Rogers
  42. Howard Henry
  43. Messian Dread
  44. Roger Steffens
  45. Bunny Wailer (related to Roger Steffens)
  46. Reggaeblitz.com glossary
  47. Jahworks.org
  48. Jamaican Handbook of Proverbs
  49. www.jamaicans.com
  50. The Reggae Box – Hip-O Records
  51. Robert Schoenfeld (Nighthawk Records)
  52. The Reggae Scrapbook – Roger Steffens & Peter Simon, 2007
  53. Dennis ‘Jabari’ Reynolds – Authentic Jamaican Dictionary
  54. Leonard Sweet
  55. G. McKenzie – slapweh.com
  56. Urban Dictionary
  57. Walt F.J. Goodridge, The Jamaican in China

Copyrights by all pictures by Chris Wandel (Help Jamaica! e.V.)

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