Jamaican Slang
Always changing, never ordinary!

To keep current with Jamaican slang, you need a teenager. So that's what I did for this page. I asked about ten teenagers to brainstorm (no, I didn't actually say "brainstorm") with their classmates to come up with the latest expressions.

So they gave me with a list, half of which I had to ask them to translate, or use in a sentence so I could understand their meanings! I used to think I was cool.

What especially fascinated me, was that some of the phrases on the list of slang words had gone out of style long ago, and were now reappearing, fresh and revived.

Who knew words were like fashion?


Anyhow, here is a taste of Jamaican Slang, as compiled and explained by a very willing group of teenagers from St. Elizabeth, with additions by contacts in Kingston and all over.

Latest Jamaican Slang

  • A dat wid you That's how you are - used to comment on someone's (bad) habits
  • A mi fi tell yu! That's right - used to show agreement with something you've been told
  • A who you man? What are you up to? (literally means "who are you really?")
  • A yasso nice! Expression used when one is having a good time (originates from an extremely X-rated song of the same name)
  • Bad chargie Young guy on the streets
  • Bait up Set someone up for a downfall/ Cause disappointment or embarrassment (Yu a bait up di ting)
  • Beat dem bad Surpass, be better than anyone or anything else
  • Ben Upset, angry
  • Big man ting Grown up business/Honestly
  • Big tings Good things/Monetary success
  • Bill Chill, take it easy
  • Breathe easy Relax, calm down
  • Bush Look awful
  • Cheddar Money
  • Crawb up Looking good, something good
  • Crawful Outrageously good
  • Crawny Look awful
  • Creng Muscular, buff
  • Daadie A term of address, used usually by males talking to each other (see "Paadie" below)
  • Dat a shot/dat shot That's fantastic (used to describe something fabulous)
  • Deh pon a endz Gone out (usually somewhere nice)
  • Do road Go on an outing
  • DWL Dead with laugh (used in texting). Equivalent to LOL
  • Do yu ting Go ahead (do your thing)
  • Dun (see "shell dun")
  • Dups/Doops Friend
  • Fish Male homosexual
  • Flassing Spending big - buying drinks by the flask etc
  • Fluffy Fat, plump
  • Frass Frazzled/Tipsy
  • Fulljoy/Funjoy Enjoy, enjoyment
  • Gaza Originally used to describe the Portmore community (hometown of DJ Vybz Kartel), or also used to describe Kartel's crew. Now used as an expression of resilience and defiance, referring to individuals or groups who stand their ground, even if it requires using violence.
  • Gone Drunk/pregnant
  • Goodaz Hot, sexy woman or girl
  • Gyalis A guy who loves women/has many women
  • Happen Fabulous (e.g. Yu hairstyle a happen!)
  • Hataz Hot, sexy woman or girl
  • Hol' a medz/medi Meditate, relax
  • Ig Vexed, upset (Don't get mi ig)
  • Inna di morrows See you tomorrow
  • KMT Kiss mi teeth (used in texting)
  • Kwenga Star boy, someone full of style
  • Level Calm down, relax
  • Live a luu Spoil the plan
  • Loud up di ting Expose someone's business
  • Luddy Lucky
  • Maad Awesome
  • Memba mi tell yu Listen up, take note                                              
  •  Mi a forward I'm coming                                                 
  • Militantly Taking action and not backing down                    
  • More life more strength A phrase used to wish someone well
  • Naah mean? Do you know what I mean?
  • Paadie A term of address, used usually by males talking to each other (see "Daadie" above)
  • Pree Think about, examine, consider carefully
  • Run road To be in charge (A we run road)                                           
  •  Russian A real bad guy
  • Scabby Someone who does not take care of himself, does not have good hygiene                                                            
  •  Screbe/screbs An uncultured person
  • Seh one Great, wonderful, fantastic
  • Sell off Expression of approval (Di party sell off)
  • Shell dun/shell dung Do something fantastic, take by storm. (Di DJ shell dun di place.) Derived from gun jargon - to shell down is literally to shoot down.
  • Shelly Adjective derived from Shell dung (see above), meaning awesome. (Di concert did shelly)
  • Sick Awesome (Da tune deh sick!)
  • Slap weh Awesome (Di dance a go slap weh!)
  • Sort out Fix up, usually related to sex life (but anything can need sorting out - hair, clothes, complexion, finances)
  • Squeako A streetwise person, someone to be careful of, as he is tricky 
  • Stinga A guy that the girls love                                          
  •  Stulla Lover (male), sexually competent male, hot guy
  • Swaggerific Extremely cool and stylish, full of swagger
  • Tek Fabulous (It tek!)
  • To di worl Expression of approval
  • Tun up/Tun ova Wonderful, great
  • Yu done know You understand
  • Yu swag tun up You're looking great
  • Zeen? You understand me?(whereas "Oh, zeen" means "oh, yes")

To keep this list true to the idea of "Jamaican Slang", I'll update it every few months, dropping off words no longer in use, and adding new ones. Those words that look like they'll be lasting, I'll shift to my page on established Jamaican phrases and words.

An interesting thing I've noticed is that some Jamaican slang words take hold of the whole country, all at once, especially if they are used in songs.

Click here if you're interested in Jamaican proverbs.

Jamaican slang is only one aspect of our culture. There are many other interesting features that combine to make Jamaica unique:

Jamaican Lifestyle (captured in sound - one of my favourite pages)
Jamaican Phrases
Jamaican People
Jamaican Music
Christmas, Easter, Independence in Jamaica
Jamaican Customs and Beliefs
Birth and Death Practices
Jamaican Religion
Rastas and Rastafarianism
Jamaican Folk Tales - Duppy, Rolling Calf and more


Return from Jamaican Slang to Real Jamaica Vacations

Other Great Pages

History of Jamaica

Christmas in Jamaica

Jamaican Animals

Jamaica People

Jamaican Climate 



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