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List of Common Jamaican Slang Terms with their Meaning

List of Common Jamaican Slang Terms with their Meaning

Jamaica instantly reminds you of the blue sea; silver sand beaches; a green, black, yellow flag; dreadlocks; and of course Bob Marley and his reggae music. It also reminds you of the typical Jamaican English accent. The following are some commonly used Jamaican slang terms and their meanings.
Penlighten Staff
"All slang is a metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry."
―Gilbery K. Chesterton

Jamaican English, being the national language of Jamaica, is not an easy language to follow. A history of invasion, colonization, and slave trade from Africa influenced the Jamaican patois (commonly used language). Once free from all the invaders, globalization further influenced the native language. The freedom struggle and Rastafari movement gave rise to new words and terms that still prevail in present times. The current language used is an amalgamation of a series of metaphors learned and passed on for generations, along with its rich history.
Here's a list of Jamaican slang terms along with their meanings.
INDEX
A | BC | D | E | FG | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

A
A, to, is, it, the, will

A door
Outdoors, outside

A go
Will go

A who you man?
What are you up to?

Aks
Ask

Aile
Oil

An
And, than

A lie
You're lying

All fruits ripe
Everything is great

Alright
All right, sure, okay

Amshouse
Poorhouse

Auntie
Aunt, any woman

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B

Baan
Born

Baby madda
Mother of a baby

Babylon
Rasta word for police/corrupt system

Bada
Brother

Badmind
Envious

Bag juice
Cheap fruit juice

Bait
Scoundrel

Bald head
Rasta term for someone caught up in the evil system

Bandu
A hair band worn by women

Bare
Only

Barefoot!
Expressing surprise

Bash(y)
Cool, awesome

Batty
Bottom

Beg
To ask

Ben
Upset/angry

Big man ting
Grown up business

Big up
Give respect

Bill
Jamaican $100 bill

Bling
Flashy/expensive chain

Bloodfire
Hell

Bokkle
Bottle

Bout
About

Box
Punch, fight

Breathe easy
Relax

Breeda
Brother

Brinks
Wealthy person

Buck
Accidentally bump into, meet unexpectedly

Bruk
Broke, broken, break

Bud
Bird

Bulla
Cake

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C

Ca
Because

Card
Fool someone

Callalou
Spinach stew

Cepes
Beard

Cha! or Cho!
An expression used to express impatience or disappointment

Chant
To sing, especially spiritual songs

Cheddar
Money

Chi chi man
Gay man

Clap
Break, hit

Coco
Potato-like vegetable

Coil
Money

Coolie hair
Straight hair

Craven
Greedy

Crawb up
Looking good, something good

Cris
Cool, in-style

Crosses
Problems, misfortune

Cuss Cuss
Shouting bad words

Cutta
Cutter; cutting tool
Cyan
Can

Cyar
Car

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D

Daddie
Father figure

Dat
That

Dat a shot/dat shot
Fantastic, fabulous

Dan
Than

Dawg
Dog

Dear
Expensive

Dehya
There or here

Des
Desperate

Di
Did, the, was

Dinki
Type of dance common among school children

Dis
This

Disya
This right here

Dogheart
Cold and cruel person

Don
Well respected person

Do road
Go on an outing

Downpress
Rasta word for oppressed

Do yu ting
Go ahead

Donkya
Don't care, careless

Doondoos
Albino

(To) Draw card
Fooling someone

Dread
Person with dreadlocks, greeting to a friend

Drop legs
To dance

Deadnut
Rasta word for coconut

Dun
Done

Duns/Dunsa
Money

Dung
Down

Dups/Doops
Friend

Duppy
Ghost

Dutty
Dirty

Dween
Doing

Dweet
Do it

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E

Ease up
Forgive, lighten up

Eaz haad
Stubborn

Eff
If

Ends
A place

Eveling
Evening

Everting cook and curry
All is well

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F

Fa
For

Faas
Fast

Fambly
Family

Faas
Nosy

Favor (r is silent- fa- va)
Resemble, look like

Feel no way
Not taken personally

Fiah
Fire

Fish
Homosexual

Fit
When used with fruits or vegetables means good enough to be harvested

First light
Tomorrow

Flex
Chill out or hang out

Fool-fool
Stupid

Foot
Any part of the leg

Forward
Future

Fren'
Friend

Frock
Dress

Fram
From or since

Fuckery
Mal-justice, wrong or unfair

Fullness
Completely, absolutely, totally

Funds
Money

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G

Gaan
Literally means gone

Galang
(To) go alone

Get
To have

Gi
Give

Gig
Spinning top
Gill
Unit of measure

Gimme
Give me

Ginnal
Con man - but when used with 'Sunday Ginnal' (clergy or preacher)

Gordas
Impeccably reputed woman

Gorgon
Well respected person

Granma/granpa
Grandparents, elderly person

Greetings
Opening greeting used commonly by Rastas

Ground
Yard or home

Gwaan
Go on

Gweh
Go away

Gwine/Gween
Going

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H

Hab
Have

Haffi
Have to

Happen
Fabulous (yu dress a happen!)

Har
Her

Hard
Excellent. proficient. skillful

Hard ears
Stubborn, headstrong

Hat
Hurt

Hiez
Ears

Higgla
Street vendor

Hitey-Titey
Upper class

Homely
Comfortable

Hush
Sorry

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I

I-Man
I, me, mine

I ney
Greeting

Iez
Ears

Ig
Upset

Inna
In the

Inna di marrows
Tomorrow

Ises/Izes/Isis
Praise

Isire
Rasta word for desire

Irie
Feeling good, everything is alright

Iron bird
Airplane

Iwa
Certain time around an hour

Iwah
Rasta word for hour

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J

Ja/Jam-Down/Jamrock
Jamaica

Jester
A joke, kidding

Jah
God, king of kings. lord of lords

Jammin
Having a good time

Janga
Shrimp, crayfish

Jelly
Young coconut

Jooks
Hangout, relax

Juu
Used with rain (a juu meaning to drizzle or rain lightly)

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K

Kass Kass
Quarrel, curse or cuss

Ketch up
Get into a fight

Kemps
A little bit

Kiss my neck
An expression of surprise

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L

Laba- Laba
Chat, gossip

Lagga head
Stupid

Large
Respected

Let off
Pay out

Likkle more
See you later

Lion
Great person

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M

Maad
Awesome

Maada
Mother

Large
Respected

Maga dog
Mongrel

Mampi
Fat, overweight

Massi mi Gad/Lawd a massi
Lord have mercy!

Mi a forward
I'm coming

More time
See you later

Mr. T
The boss

Mus Mus
Rat

My baby mother/father
The mother or father of my baby

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N

Natty
Dreadlocks

Nana
Nurse or midwife or nanny

Nice up
Promote positive feeling

No cya
No matter

Nose hole
Nostril

Nuh true?
Isn't it so?

Nyam
To eat

Nying'i-Nying'i
Nagging

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O

One love
Expression of unity

One-One
One by one

Ongle
Only

Oh, zeen
Oh, yes

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P

Paki
Gourd

Passa-Passa
Gossip

Picky-Picky
Choosy

Pickney
Child, children

Pinda
Peanut

Polytrics
Politics

Polyticksters
Politicians

Princess
Teenager or adult female

Pree
Except for/except

Pyaa- pyaa
Weak, feeble

Pyu
Dripping or oozing

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Q

Quashi
Peasant

Quattie
Of no value

Quips
A tiny amount, very little

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R

Radda
Rather

Ragga
Reggae music played heavily on digital equipment

Rass/Raas
Expression meaning ass

Rahtid!
Expression of surprise

Red
High or drunk

Red yeye
One who is jealous

Renk
Fool

Russian
Bad guy

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S

Sa
Sir

Salt
Unlucky, bad luck

Scabby
Someone who isn't hygienic

Scenty
Smells good

Seh one
Great, fantastic, wonderful

Sell off
Expression of approval

Shorty
Slang for girl/chick

Sick
Awesome

Slump
Slum, ghetto

Speaky Spokey
This term is used when a Jamaican tries to speak English like an American or Englishman

Swaggerific
Extremely cool and stylish

Swatty
Fatty

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T

Tan
Stand, wait

Tanks
Thanks

Teif
Thief/to steal

Tree
Three

Truut
Truth in the past tense

Truu
Truth, true, threw

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U

Uncle
Uncle or older man

Usband
Husband

Undastan
Understand

Uno
Plural form of you, you all

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V

Van
Pick-up truck

Vex
Angry

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W

Wah gwaan
What's up

Weh
Where

Whole heat
Large quantity

Walk good
Goodbye

Weh yuh a seh?
What are you saying?

Whap'am?
Hello?

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Y

Y Pree
What's going on

Yeye
Eye

Yu done know
You understand

Yut
Youth (used in calling a friend)

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Z

Zeen
You understand me?

Language is a medium to communicate your views and express yourself verbally. Slang is an informal use of a language. So, before you head out into the streets of Jamica, remember, this is a tip of the iceberg meant only to get you better acquainted with the locals there. Be careful when you use these common Jamaican slang terms, as they may not necessarily mean the same as your every day American English. If someone 'Hushes' you, he's probably apologizing for something he's done. So use your words wisely.