LABA-LABA: to chat, gab; gossip LABRISH: gossip, chit-chat LAGGA HEAD: Dumb acts as if you have no common sense. Stupid. “yu dam Lagga head bud” LAMBSBREAD: a form of high-quality marijuana LARGE: respected. LET OFF: pay out. LEGGO BEAS’: wild, disorderly, like a let-go beast. LICK: To hit. LICKY-LICKY: fawning, flattering, obsequious. LIKKLE: little. LILLY BIT: little bit, tiny. LION: a righteous Dread a great soul. LIKKLE MORE: see you later. (TOO) LIKKY-LIKKY: title given to those who like to eat any food they encounter , without discretion. MAAMA MAN: a gay person, an effeminate man, a weakling. MAAS: n. from master or massa. Now freed from its class origin; a respectful form of address to an older man. MACCA: thorn, prickle. dangerous. MACCA BACK: boney fish used to make fish soup. MADDA: mother. MAFIA: big-time criminals. MAGA DOG: mongrel. MAGA: thin. MAMPI: Fat or overweight. MANACLES: chains. MANNERS: under heavy discipline or punishment. for example when Kingston is under “heavy manners”, they have a curfew or call out the army. MARINA: a man’s undershirt, guernsey; a tank-top style.
MAROON: n. free black warrior-communities which successfully resisted British hegemony during eighteenth century and early nineteenth century From Spanish cimmaron-untamed, wild. MASCOT: denoting inferior status. MASH IT UP: a huge success. MASH UP, MASH DOWN: destroy. MASSIVE: respected, used with LARGE to add emphasis. MATEY: mistress. MEK WE: Let Us. MENELIK, RAS: n. Ethiopian nobleman who rallied his troops to resist Italian aggression. Defeated Italians at Adowa 1896. MONKS: amongst. MORE TIME: see you later. MR. MENTION: Talk of the town, originally talk of the females signifying someone with many female conquests. MR. T: the boss. MUS MUS: a rat. MY BABY MOTHER /FATHER: the mother/father of my child. MYAL: n. a form of benign magic oposed to Obeah, hence myalman. From Hursa maye-wizard, person of mystic power. NAGAH: n. pejorative for a black person. NAGO: n. Yoruba person, practice or language. From Ewe anago-Yoruba person. NAH: adv. will not. Emphatic as in “Me nah do that”. NANA: midwife; nanny or nurse. 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, an hurt you later… NASH: female genatalia. NATTY, NATTY DREAD, NATTY CONGO: 1. dreadlocks 2. a person with dreadlocks.
NAZARITE: Ancient Hebrew meaning to “separate”, consecrated, set apart by choice and devotion. NICE UP: to promote and foster a positive feeling. to “nice up the dance”means to get the party going. NYAHBINGI: 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. NIYAMEN: name for Rastas referring to Niyabinghi warriors of East Africa. NO CYA: no matter, as in “no kya weh im tun”, no matter where he turns. NOTCH: Don or top ranking badman. NUH: interrogative at end of sentence; literally, “Is it not so?” NUH TRUE?: isn’t it so? NYAM: to eat. (TOO) NYAMI-NYAMI: title given to those who like to eat any food they encounter, without discretion. NYING’I-NYING’I: nagging, whining. O-DOKONO: boiled maize bread. OBEAH: traditional African “science”, relating to matters of the spirit and spirits, spells, divinations, omens, extra-sensory knowledge, etc. OHT FI: about to, on the vergeof, as in “it hoht fi rain”, it is about to rain, it looks like rain. ONE DROP: A popular type of rhythm pattern used on countless reggae records. ONE LOVE: a parting phrase, expression of unity. ONE-ONE: adjective, one by one, thus any small amount. ONGLE: only. PAKI: calabash, gourd. PAPAA: pawpaw, or papaya melon. PATTAN: pattern, style and fashion. PATU: owl. PAYAKA: heathen craven, want it all.
PYAKA: tricky or dishonest. PEEL-HEAD: bald-headed, usually certain chickens or vultures. PEENYWALLY: a kind of large fire fly, actually a type of flying beetle. PEER: avocado pear. PHENSIC: JA equivalent to Tylenol, Excedrin, etc. PICKY, PICKY HEAD: brush haircut. PICKY, PICKY HEAD: brush haircut. PICKY-PICKY: 1. finicky or choosy, 2. Used of uncombed hair just starting to turn into dreadlocks. PIKNY: pickaninny, child. PINDA: peanut. PIRA: a low wooden stool. PITY-ME-LIKL: a type of very tiny red ant whose bite is so hot and long-lasting it resembles a sting. POCOMANIA, POCO: christian revival, distinct drum rhythm. POLYTRICKS: politics (by Peter Tosh). POLYTRICKSTERS: politicians (by Peter Tosh). 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. PUM-PUM: a woman’s genitals. PUNAANI or PUNNI: a woman’s genitals. PUPPALICK: somersalt. PUSSY CLOT: A curse word ref. to a woman’s sanitary napkin. PUTTIN’ AWAY: a preposition, meaning “except for”, or “except”. PYAA-PYAA: sickly, weak; feeble, of no account. PYU: from spew; verb used of running sores or anything similarly dripping or oozing
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