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 so di ting set * That's the way it is, that's the situation
- A weak * Equivalent to ROFL (literally "I'm weak" with laughter)
- A yasso nice! * Expression used when one is having a good time
- Bait up * Set someone up for a downfall/ Cause disappointment or embarrassment
- 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
- Brogad * Brother/also used as a reference to Prime Minister Andrew Holness
- Cheddar * Money
- Chop/Y Chop * What's going on?
- Come Gwope * Get outta here! Stop talking foolishness!
- Coil * Wad of money
- Creng * Muscular, buff
- Cut * Leave
- Daadie * A term of address, used usually by males talking to each other (see "Paadie" below)
- Dat shot * That's fantastic (used to describe something fabulous)
- Deh pon a endz * Gone out (usually somewhere fun)
- Deeven * Don't even
- Do road * Go on an outing
- DWL * Dead with laugh (used in texting), similar to LOL
- Do yu ting * Go ahead (do your thing)
- Drop out * Die (Mi pops drop out - my father died)
- Dun * (see "shell dun")
- Dups/Doops * Friend
- Farrid gad * Used to describe someone with a big forehead (Nose gad - someone with a big nose. Just add "gad" to the body part to indicate large size)
- Fish * Male homosexual
- Flassing * Spending big - buying drinks by the flask etc
- Fluffy * Fat, plump
- Frass * Frazzled/Tipsy
- Fulljoy/Funjoy * Enjoy, enjoyment
- Genna/Mi Genna/Mi G * Used to address a friend
- Goodaz/Goodie/Goodz * Hot, sexy woman or girl
- Good-good * Vagina (polite way of saying poom-poom)
- Grung * OK
- Gwope (see Come Gwope) * Get outta here! Stop talking foolishness!
- Gyalis * A guy who loves women/has many women
- Hataz * Hot, sexy woman or girl
- Heng up * Stop talking, be quiet (literally, "Hang up")
- Hol' a medz/medi * Meditate, relax
Latest Jamaican Slang cont'd
- If a dirt, a dirt * It is what it is
- Ig * Vexed, upset (Don't get mi ig)
- Inna di morrows * See you tomorrow
- Jiji * Jittery
- KMT * Kiss mi teeth (used in texting), expresses annoyance
- Knock mi * Call me/text me
- Level * Calm down, relax
- Liff up * Get outta here! (similar to Gwope)
- Loud up di ting * Expose someone's business
- Maad * Awesome
- Memba mi tell yu * Listen up, take note
- Mi a forward * I'm coming
- Mi haffi deh deh pon mi eyelash * I'll be there no matter what
- Militantly * Taking action and not backing down
- Mosquito net * Female private parts
- Naah mean? * Do you know what I mean?
- Nah aks Chrise * Used to emphasise confidence in what one has just said (I'm not asking Christ, I already know)
- One more time * A term used to indicate the extreme, for example "if I laugh one more time" would mean that something is hilarious. "If him cute one more time" would mean that the guy couldn't be any cuter.
- Paadie * A term of address, used usually by males talking to each other (see "Daadie" above)
- Parrie * Friend
- Pree * Think about, examine, consider carefully
- Puppy * Penis
- Right desso * Used to express agreement with something that has just been said
- 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!)
- Shots fired! * Comment made when someone has just been dissed
- Sort out * Fix up, usually related to sex life (but anything can need sorting out - hair, clothes, complexion, finances)
- Sowah * Response to a lame joke
- Stinga * A guy that the girls love
- Talk truth * Used to express agreement with something that has just been said
- Tuff * Amazing
- Tun up/Tun ova * Wonderful, great
- Up * Awesome
- Warm * Unattractive
- Yaa shub? * Are you coming/going?
- Y Style? * What's happening?
- Waste man * Useless person, a waste of time
- Watch da style ya * Check this out
- Yu done know * You understand
- 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 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)
Christmas, Easter, Independence in Jamaica
Jamaican Customs and Beliefs
Birth and Death Practices
Rastas and Rastafarianism
Jamaican Folk Tales - Duppy, Rolling Calf and more
Return from Jamaican Slang to Real Jamaica Vacations
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