Rasta Jamaican Patois Glossary A D

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A: (pronounced as a short ‘a’) means: I eg. a goin tomorrow – I’m going tomorrow ACCIDENT: a girl who will go after any man, whether he has a wife/girl friend or not A GWINE: I’m going to ALMSHOUSE: something bad, tragedy see: SHEGGRIES AMHARIC: One of the many languages of Ethiopia; the language of the royal Ethiopian dynasty since the 13th century ANNADA: another ARINJ: orange ATTACLAPSE: a very big event eg. Lord have mercy, di police come, whatta attaclapse A GO: going to do, as in Me a go tell him A DOOR: outdoors ACCOMPONG: name of Maroon warrior, Capt. Accompong, brother of Cudjo; also name of town. From the Twi name for the supreme deity ACKEE: n. African food tree introduced about 1778. From Twi ankye or Kru akee AGONY: the sensations felt during sex AKS: ask ALIAS: adj. (urban slang) dangerous, violent AMSHOUSE: poorhouse AN: than ARMAGEDDON: the biblical final battle between the forces of good and evil ASHAM: n. Parched, sweetened, and ground corn. From twi osiam BAIT: punk BAD MAN = gangsta BABYLON: feds = police BASHMENT: phat BAXIDE: ass = bottom BIGGA HEADZ DODS: important people BRAWTA: the little extra that you might get eg.extra sweets BUZZ: the police BABYLON: 1. the corrupt establishment, the system Church and State 2. the police, a policeman BAD: good, great BAD BWAI: (bad boy) 1. refering to a bold man; a compliment 2. : One who has committed a crime.: (rude bwai, ruddy, baddy) BADNESS: hooligan behavior, violence for its own sake BAFAN: clumsy; awkward BAFANG: a child who did not learn to walk the 1st 2-7 years BAG-O-WIRE: a betrayer BAGGY: underpants for a woman or child BALMYARD: n. place where pocpmania rites are held, healing is done, spells cast or lifted BAKRA: white slavemaster, or member of the ruling class in colonial days. Popular etymology: “back raw” (which he bestowed with a whip) BALD-HEAD: a straight person; one without dreadlocks; one who works for babylon BAMBA YAY: by and by BAMBU: rolling paper BAMMY: a pancake made out of cassava, after it has been grated and squeezed to remove the bitter juice BANDULU: bandit, criminal, one living by guile a BANDULU BIZNESS is a racket, a swindle BANGARANG: hubbub, uproar, disorder, disturbance BANKRA: a big basket, including the type which hangs over the sides of a donkey BANS: from bands; a whole lot, a great deal, nuff, whole heap BANTON: a storyteller BASHMENT: party, dance, session BAT: butterfly or moth. English bat, the flying rodent,is a rat-bat BATTY: bottom; backside; anus

BATTYBWOY: a homosexual person BEAST: a policeman BEENIE: little BEX: vex (verb), or vexed (adjective) BHUTTU (BUHTUH): an uncouth, out of fashion, uncultured person Use: Wey yu a go inna dem deh cloze? Yu fayva buttu BIG BOUT YAH: Large and in charge. Superlative indicating status (power, fame, money, talent, etc) within some social group BISCUIT: a particularly attractive woman BISSY: cola nut BOOPS/BOOPSIE: Boops is a man, often older, who supports a young woman; boopsie refers to a kept woman BLACK UP: To smoke weed. Like someone would ask “You Black up: today?” Meaning did you smoke today? BLACKHEART MAN: a rascal, a hooligan BLOUSE AND SKIRT: common exclamation of surprise BLY: chance, “must get a bly”, “must get a chance” BOASIE: adj. proud, conceited, ostentatious. Combination of English boastful and Yoruba bosi-proud and ostentatious BOASIN TONE: Swollen penis or testicles BOBO: fool BOBO DREAD: a rastafarian sect based on the teachings of Prince Emanuel Edwards distinguished by turbin-like headdresses, flowing white robes and communal living BODERATION: Boderation comes from the word bother and that’s basically what it means. If something is a boderation then it’s a bother BONG BELLY PICKNEY: a greedy child who ate too much BOONOONOONOUS: Meaning wonderful BOX: To smack or to hit in the face BRAA: from BREDDA; brother 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 BREDREN: one’s fellow male Rastas BRINDLE: to be angry BRINKS: title given to a man who is supplying a woman with money BUBU: fool BUCKY: home-made gun , slave BUCKY MASSA: master over the slaves BUD: bird BUFU-BUFU: fat, swollen, blubbery; too big; clumsy or lumbering BUGUYAGA: a sloppy, dirty person, like a bum or tramp BULL BUCKA: a bully BULLA: a comon sugar and flour cookie or small round cake, sold everywhere in Jamaica BUMBA CLOT, (TO GET) BUN: to have one’s spouse or girl/boy-friend cheat on oneself, to be cheated out of something BLOOD CLOT, RAS CLOT: curse words BUCK UP: meet BUMBO: bottom; backside. A common curse word, especially in combination with CLOT (cloth), a reference to the days before toilet paper BUN: burn BUNGO: n. racially pejorative. Crude, black, ignorant, boorish person. From Hausa bunga-bumpkin, nincompoop BUNKS: to knock or bump against, from “to bounce”, BUNKS MI RES, catch my rest, take a nap BWOY: Boy CATTY: when used as a person’s name, it usually ends up being Cathy mispronounced. it more generally means a girl or woman CEMETERY: a girl whose had many abortion CHARLENE: a girl who has ‘pretty car eyes’ meaning: she’ll go after a man who has a nice car eg. Benz

CHATTA BOX: someone who talks alot CROSSES/TRIALS: comes from the expression trials and tribulations eg. But a coulda wah dis crosses pon me doe lawd? CUT OUT: leave somewhere CYAA: can’t, cannot CAT: a woman’s genitals CALLALOU: A spinach stew CARD: to fool someone CEASE and SEKKLE!: stop everything and relax! CEPES: (n.)beard CERACE: a wild cucurbit vine used for boiling medicinal tea, and for medicine. It is proverbial for its bitterness CHA! or CHO!: a disdainful expletive (1) pshaw! (2) very common, mild explanation expressing impatience, vexation or disappointment CHAKA-CHAKA: messy, disorderly, untidy CHALICE or CHILLUM: a pipe for smoking herb, usually made from coconut shell or CHALEWA and tubing, used ritually by Rastas CHANT: (v.) – to sing, especially cultural or spiritual songs CHEAP: just as cheap, just as well CHI CHI MAN: a gay man CHIMMY: chamber pot CHO: very common, mild explanation expressing impatience, vexation or disappointment CLAP: hit, break, stride 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”. 3. literally means a used tampon 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 COIL: money COLD I UP: humiliate or be-little COME DUNG: come down, get ready (as to prepare to play a tune) COME EEN LIKE: to seem as if; to resemble CONTROL: to be in charge of, responsible for, to own; to take COO ‘PON: v. (origin unclear) Look upon! COO YAH: v. (origin unclear) Look here! pay attention COOL RUNNINGS: usually used at a time of departure on a long journey meaning have a safe trip COOLIE: the traditional Jamaican epithet for East Indians. 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 COLLIE: n. (urban slang) ganja COME YAH (cumyu): come here CORK UP: jammed, filled, crowded CORN: 1. marijuana 2. money 3. a bullet COTCH: verb (cotch up), to support something else, as with a forked stick COTTA: a roll of cloth or vegetation placed on top of the head to cushion the skull from the weight of a head load CRAB: aside from it’s usual meaning, it is a verb meaning to scratch or claw CRAVEN: greedy 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 CRIS: crisp; popularly used for anything brand-new, slick-looking

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


Thanks to some of the sources of this glossary…Reggae International, Stephen Davis, Peter Simon, R&B, 1982 – KSBR 88.5 FM, Laguna Beach, CA. Handout. – posted on rec.music.reggae – Mike Pawka, Jammin Reggae Archives Cybrarian – Understanding Jamaican Patois, L. Emilie Adams, Kingston – Richard Dennison/Michio Ogata – Glossary from “The Harder They Come” (Bo Peterson) – Norman Redington – The Beat – Allen Kaatz – Jah Bill (William Just) – Arlene Laing – Jennifer G. Graham – Norma Brown/Zoe Una Vella Veda – Richard V. Helmbrecht – Norman Stolzoff – Christopher Edmonds – Lisa Watson – Dr. Carolyn Cooper – Ras Adam – Chip Platt – Michael Turner from an article in “The Beat” – Nicky “Dread” Taylor – Simrete McLean – The Unofficial Web Site on Jamaica – Paul Mowatt – Carlos Culture – Liner Notes – Blood & Fire release: Jah Stitch:”Original Ragga Muffin”, presumably Steve Barrow – Clinton Fearon -Original member of the Gladiators/ – Barbara Kennedy – Itations of Jamaica and i Rastafari – Phil “Bassy” Ajaj – Karlene Rogers – Dean Holland – Scottie Lake – Roger Steffen’s Supersite – Sara Gurgen – Kevin Robison – Christopher Durning – Ronald E. Lam – Trainer Adams – Editor of Dub Missive magazine. – Karlene Rogers – Howard Henry – Messian Dread – Roger Steffens – Bunny Wailer (related to Roger Steffens) – Jahworks.org – Jamaican Handbook of Proverbs – www.jamaicans.com-The Reggae Box – Hip-O Records
A Great big thanks to Mike Pawka http://niceup.com/patois.txt

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