RASTA PATOIS GLOSSARY
AMHARIC: One of the many languages of Ethiopia; the language of the royal Ethiopian dynasty since the 13th century.
BABYLON: From a Rastafari perspective, Babylon is the historically white-European colonial and imperialist power structure which has oppressed Blacks and other peoples of color.
DIASPORA: dispersion; a migration; the dispersion of an originally homogeneous people.
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.
ATTACLAPSE: a very big event eg. Lord have mercy, di police come, whatta attaclapse. A GO: aux w/v. going to do, as in "Me a go tell him"
A DOOR: outdoors.
ACCOMPONG: n. 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.
ALIAS: adj. (urban slang) dangerous, violent.
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.
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 gay person.
BEAST: a policeman.
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 somene 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 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.
BUCKY: home-made gun , slave.
BUCKY MASSA: master over the slaves.
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.
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.
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 & SEKKLE!: stop everything and relax!
CEPES: (n.) - beard.
CERACE: a ubiquitous vine used for boiling medicinal tea, and for bathing. 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.
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 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.
CRISSARS: crisp, brand-new.acks from the Gold Coast believed to be rebellious.
CROCUS BAG: a very large sack made of coarse cloth, like burlap.
CROSSES: problems, vexations, trials; bad luck, misfortunes.
CRUCIAL: serious, great, "hard,", "dread"
CU: verb, look!
CU DEH!: look there!
CU PAN: look at.
CU YA!: look here!
CU YU: To say "Look at you." To the person you are refering to.
CUDJO: n. name of famous Maroon warrior; mn born on Monday, from Fante, Twi kudwo.
CULTURE: reflecting or pertaining to the roots values and traditions highly respected by the Rastas.
CUSS-CUSS: a quarrel or fracas, with lots of cursing.
CUT YAI: to cut your eye at somebody is a very common means of expressing scorn or contempt, for example; one catches the other person's eye, then deliberatly turns one's own eyes as an insult.
CUTCHIE: pipe for communal smoking.
CYA: 1. to care; "donkya", don't care, careless; "no kya" means no matter, as in "no kya weh im tun", no matter where he turns. 2. to carry.
CYAI: to carry.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
DUPPY: a ghost.
DUTCHY: dutch cooking pot, low round-bottomed heavy pot.
East Indian; Indo-Jamaican, Indo-Trinidadian, etc.
Elders: The term given to individuals of longstanding commitment in the Rasta Movement. In everyday speech, the status of male individuals as elders is often acknowledged by use of the term "Bongo" as an honorific (e.g., addressing someone as "Bongo Hill" or "Bongo Ketu").
Ital: The Rastafari term for a saltless and vegetarian diet.
Jah: In Rasta speech, this term is used as a synonym for Emperor Haile Selassie as the manifestation of the Godhead.
EASE-UP: to forgive, to lighten up.
EVERYTING COOK & CURRY: all is well, all is taken care of.
FALLA FASHIN: Copycat.FAS': to be fast with, meaning to be rude, impertinent, to meddle with sombody's business, to be forward, etc.
FASSY: eczema-like scratchy sores on the skin; also a verb meaning to cause oneself to be covered with fassy by scratching.
FAASTI (FIESTY): impertinent, rude, impudent.
FAYVA: to favour, resemble, or look like; "fayva like" also means "it seems as if".
FE (FI): the infinitive "to" as in "Have fe go": "a fe" Have to "fe dem" their.
FEEL NO WAY: don't take offense, don't be sorry, don't worry.
FENKY-FENKY: (from finicky) choosy, proud, stuck-up.
FENNEH: v. to feel physical distress, pain. From Twi fene-to ; Fante fena-to be troubled; Lumba feno-to faint.
FI (FE): possessive. "fi me"-"mine". Can also mean : "for" or "to", as in "I ha' fi", I have to. : Yu num fi du dat = You are not to do that. Fe is Fi as in fi ar means hers.. fi im - his.. fi dem - theirs.. fi you - yours.. fi me - mine.
FIESTY (FAASTI): impudent, rude, out of order, cheeky.
FIRST LIGHT: tomorrow.
(HIM A) FISH: a gay person.
FIT: when used of fruits and vegetables, it means ready to pick, full grown, though not necessarily fully ripe, also means in good shape. ("You haffe fit!")
FORWARD: 1. to go, move on, set out 2. in the future.
FRONTA: tobacco leaf used to roll herb.
FUCKERY: wrong, unfair.
FULLNESS, TO THE FULLNESS: completely, absolutely, totally.
GAAN A BED: an adverbial phrase; following a verb of liking or loving, it has a superlative meaning; Can be used in any context, such as "I love hafu yam gaan to bed!", means very much as in liking very much.
GALANG: go along.
GANJA: herb, marijuana.
GANSEY: t-shirt, any knit shirt.
(TO) GET SALT: to be thwarted, to encounter misfortune.
GATES: home, yard.
GENERAL: cool operator.
GIG: spinning top.
GILL: unit of measure like pint.
GINNAL: n. trickster, con-man, an Amnancy figure as in "Sunday Ginnal"-a preacher or clergyman.
GLAMITY: a woman's genitals.
GORGON: outstanding dreadlocks, a dragon.
(DON) GORGON: outstanding dreadlocks, a person who is respected.
GRAVALICIOUS: greedy, avaricious.
GRINDSMAN: one who displays great prowess in bed.
GROUNATION: large, island-wide meeting and celebration of Rastas.
GROUND: home, yard.
HACKLE: to hassle, bother, worry, trouble. As a noun, hackling.
HAFFI: to have to...
HAIL: a greeting.
HARBOUR SHARK: "Mr. Want-All" glutton, greedy, someone who wants it all.
HARD: excellent, proficient, skillful, uncompromising, tough.
HARD EARS: stubborn, doesn't listen.
HEETCH: itch. Many such words could be listed under H, as initial H is added to scores of words at will.
HEAD MAN JANCRO: n. albino buzzard.
HIEZ-HAAD: ears-hard, thick skulled, stubborn, unwilling or unable to hear.
HIGGLERS: higglers, who are primarly woman who buy and sell goods that they have imported into the country. Some higglers, however, do not make trips out of the country to buy goods, but sell the goods that others import. The connection between higglers and dancehall culture is crucial as they form one of the strongest international links between JA, North America, and the Caribbean.
HITEY-TITEY: upper class, high tone, "stoosh", someone who pretends to be better than they are.
HOMELY: to be relaxed, comfortable, enjoying your home surrounding.
HORTICAL (DON): respected, acclaimed.
HOT-STEPPER: fugitive from jail or gun court.
I-DREN: (n.)- male Rastafarian.
I-MAN: I, me, mine.
I-NEY: a greeting.
I-REY: 1. a greeting 2. excellent, cool, highest.
I-TAL: 1. vital, organic, natural, wholesome; refers to way of cooking and way of life, 2. in colors, red, green and gold.
I: replaces "me", "you", "my"; replaces the first syllable of seleted words (1) I and I, I&I: I, me, you and me, we. Rastafari speech eliminates you, me we, they, etc., as divisive and replaces same with communal I and I. I and I embraces the congregation in unity with the Most I (high) in an endless circle of inity (unity).
IEZ-HAAD: ears-hard, thick skulled, stubborn, unwilling or unable to hear.
ILIE: adj. literally, "highly", valuable, exalted, even sacred.
IGNORANT: short-tempered, easy to vex, irate.
INNA DI MORROWS: tomorrow.
INNA: In the.
IRIE: A Greeting. excellent, cool, highest, adj. powerful and pleasing.ISES/IZES/ISIS: Praises to the almighty given by Rasta, when calling on the name of Jah for strength and assistance for achieving progress in life.
ISMS and SKISMS: negative term denoting Babylon's classificatory systems.
ITES: 1. the heights 2. a greeting 3. the color red great 4. another word for irie. Or you use it to mean "OK" as in when someone asks you to do something for you, you would reply, "Ites."
IWA: certain time or hour.
JA, JAM-DOWN: Jamaica.
JACKASS ROPE: homegrown tobacco, twisted into a rope.
JAH KNOW: Lord knows.
JAH: God; possibly derived as a shortened form of Jahweh or Jehovah. Jah Ras Tafari, Haille Selassie, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, conquering Lion of Judah; rastas revere Haile Selassie as the personification of the Almighty.
JAMDUNG: Jamaica, "Jam" to press down "dung" down. Ironic reference to social and economic conditions of the masses.
JAMMIN: to be having a good time, to be dancing calypso/soca.
JANCRO: n. literally John Crow, buzzard.
JANGA: shrimp, crayfish.
JELLY: a young coconut, full of jelly.
JON CONNU: n. (John Canoe). Bands of elaborately masked dancers appearing around Christmas. They ressemble the ancestral dancers of West Africa, but the ety. of the word is unclear.
JOOK: to pierce or stick, as with a thorn or a long pointed stick, also used in a sexual context.
JOOKS: hangout, relax.
JUDGIN': adjective, everyday or ordinary clothes or shoes worn in the yard or in the bush, as in "judgin' boot". Also as a verb, to judge, with a similar meaning.
JUU: as a verb, rain a juu; as a noun, juu rain. It means a light rain or drizzle.
KALI; COOLY: marijuana.
KALLALOO: a dark, green leafy vegetable, very nutritious and cheap.
KASS KASS: n. quarrel or contention. From combination of English curse or cuss, and Twi kasa kasa-to dispute verbally.
KATA: a roll of cloth or vegetation placed on top of the head to cushion the skull from the weight of a head load.
KAYA: see ganja.
KETCH UP: grapple, get in a fight.
KETCHY-CHUBY: It can be a sexual term meaning the man throw it and the woman catch it! It can also mean a game - life's game, how to see through today to meet tomorrow and all the games of life as in "life is just a ketchy-chuby game."
KEMPS: a little bit, a tiny piece, from skimps.
KIN TEET: "skin teeth" to laugh at someone or give them a plastic smile, sometimes used derogatorily as in "A little kin-teet bwoy."
KISS ME NECK!: common exclamation of surprise.
KISS TEET: to kiss one's teeth or to suck one's teeth is to make the very common hissing noise of disappoval, dislike, vexation or disappointment.
KOUCHIE: bowl of a chalice or chillum pipe.
KRENG-KRENG: an old-fashioned meat rack, hung up high over the fire to catch the smoke.
KUMINA: n. Ecstatic dance for the purpose of communicating with ancestors. From Twi akom-to be possessed and ana-by an ancestor.
Maroons: A term derived from the Spanish word cimarron, meaning wild or unruly, used to refer to runaway slaves in various parts of the Caribbean.
Nyabinghi: (Ni-uh-bin-gee) This term has a series of overlapping meanings within the contemporary Rastafari Movement. It refers variously to the island-wide religious gatherings of Rasta brethren and sistren to the three-part drum ensemble on which chants are composed, to the African-derived dance-drumming style performed at these events, and to the corpus of chants themselves. It also refers to the most orthodox organization within the broader Rasta movement variously known as the House of Nyabinghi or the Theocratic Government of Emperor Haile Selassie I.
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.
LET OFF: pay out.
LEGGO BEAS': wild, disorderly, like a let-go beast.
LICK: To hit.
LICKY-LICKY: fawning, flattering, obsequious.
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.
MAFIA: big-time criminals.
MAGA DOG: mongrel.
MAMPI: Fat or overweight.
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.
MEK WE: Let Us.
MENELIK, RAS: n. Ethiopian nobleman who rallied his troops to resist Italian aggression. Defeated Italians at Adowa 1896.
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.
NIYABINGHI: 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.
PAKI: calabash, gourd.
PAPAA: pawpaw, or papaya melon.
PATTAN: pattern, style and fashion.
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: 1. finicky or choosy, 2. Used of uncombed hair just starting to turn into dreadlocks.
PIKNY: pickaninny, child.
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.
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.
Ras Tafari: the pre-coronation name of Emperor Haile Selassie I.
Reggae: Sometimes called "the King's music" or "roots music".
QUASHIE: n. peasant, country bumpkin, coarse and stupid person; racial pejorative generic term for blacks; originally Twi name of a boy born on a Sunday.
QUIPS: 1. nouns (from squips) a tiny piece or amount, 2. verb, the Jamaican art of washing clothes making a "squips-squips" sound.
RAATID!: a common mild expletive of surprise or vexation, as in "to raatid!". It is likely a polite permutation of "ras", a la "gosh" or "heck".
RAGGA: A style of reggae that uses digital rhythms exclusively. A term sometimes used interchangably with dancehall, since the latter music has become heavily digitized as well.
RAGGAMUFFIN: jamaican ghetto dweller.
RAM: full up.
RAM GOAT: someone who deals with nuff ladies.
RANKING: highly respected.
RAS or RASS: backside, rump; a common curse is to rass! or rass clot! a title used by Rastafarians meaning "lord" or "head".
(TO) RAAS: "really?", "damn!".
RASTA, RASTAFARIAN: a follower of Marcus Garvey who worships the Almighty in the person of haile Selassie.
RAT-BAT: bat, the night-flying rodent.
RATCHET: a switchblade knife popular in Jamaica.
RED: 1. very high on herb, 2. mulatto color.
RED EYE: to want another persons belonging, envious. "You too red eye", meaning, you're too envious.
RAHTID: expression of surprise, or to be enraged. From biblical"wrothed".
RENK: 1. foul-smelling, raw-smelling, 2. out of order, impudent, as in a rank-imposter. "Yu too renk!", fiesty.
RHAATID: a curse-exclamation, similar to "what the hell", To rahtid ---> Exclamination!!, i.e Wow! a milder form to Rass...excitement!!.
RHYGIN: adj. spirited, vigorous, lively, passionate with great vitality and force; also sexually provocative and aggressive. Probably a form of English raging.
RIZZLA: brand of rolling paper.
ROCKERS: reggae music reggae music as it is played today, the latest sound.
ROOTS: 1. derived from the experience of the common people, natural indigenous, 2. a greeting, 3. name for a fellow Rasta.
ROTI: flat Indian pan breads.
ROYAL, (RIAL): n. offspring of some other race and black, ass in "Chiney-Rial," "coolie-rial"; humorous as in "monkey-rial".
RUDE BOY: a criminal, a hard hearted person, a tough guy.
RUN-DUNG: food cooked in coconut juice, obtained after grating the dry coconut meat and squeezing it in water, thus extracting the coconut cream.
RUNNING BELLY: diarrhea.
SAL'TING: 1. dishes cooked with saltfish or meat, 2. that part of the meal which is served with the "food" (starchy food, ground food), 3. by some strange extension, the female organ, often simply called "sal". the food that goes with the rice, potatoes or starchy food; like calalloo, fish and sauce, sauces or gravy.
SALT: adjective, broke, empty-handed, low on funds or food, as in "tings salt" or "i' salt".
SAMBO: the colour between brown and black; someone who is a cross between a mullatto (brown) and a black.
SAMFAI MAN: trickster, conman.
SHAMPATA: n. sandal of wood or tire rubber. Span. zapato.
SANFI: A manipulator - dishonest person. A person that will sweet talk you out of love and money. "Dam Sanfi Bitch".
SANKEY: n. religious song of a paticularly lugubrious tone, sung in the long or common meter. From Ira David Sankey, evangelist and hymnalist.
SATA: to rejoice, to meditate, to give thanks and praise.
SATTA: sit, rest, meditate (1) relax.
(GO) SATTA: claim how spiritual you are.
SCIENCE: obeah, witchcraft.
SCIENTIST: occult practitioner.
SCOUT: denoting inferior status.
SCREECHIE: to sneak by.
SCREW: to scowl, to be angry.
SEEN: I understand, I agree.
SEEN?: Do you understand?.
SHAG: home-cured tobacco, straight from the field.
SHAKE OUT: leave without haste, casually.
SHEG (UP): verb, to bother, as in "all sheg up", all hot and bothered, or or spoiled up (as of work).
SHEG-UP: to be messed up, ruined.
SHEPHERD: n. leader of revivalist cult; also proprietor of balmyard, healer and prophet.
SHOOB: to shove.
SIDUNG: sit down.
SIGHT?: do you understand?
SINKL-BIBLE: the aloevera plant.
SINSEMILLA, SENSIE: popular, potent, seedless, unpollinated female strain of marijuana.
SIPPLE: slippery; slimy.
SISTER, SISTREN: a woman, a friend, woman Rastafarians.
SKANK: to dance to reggae music (1) to move with cunning, ulterior motives.
SKIL: kiln, as in "limeskil".
SKIN: rolling paper.
SKIN YOUR TEETH: smile, plastic smile.
SLABBA-SLABBA: big and fat, slobby, droopy.
SLACKNESS: lewd, vulgar lyrics popular in DJ singing.
SLACKY TIDY: unkept or messy.
SO-SO: only, solely, unaccompanied, weak, pallid.
SOFT: not well done, amateurish; unable to cope. broke, no money.
SOUNDBWOY: usually a derogatory way to refer to the selecter or other personality in another sound system. This term is most often employed in clashes, on dub plates built for clashes, and so on. Sometimes it is not used in such a negative manner, but most of the time one refers to the someone in the crew as a soundman, not a boy.
SOUND SYSTEM: Huge mobile stereo setups manned by DJs, who became celebrities as they traveled Jamaica to host open-air dances.
SPLIFF: large, cone-shaped marijuana cigarette.
SPRING: to sprout, as of yams or cocos, making them inedible.
STAR: common term of affection, camaraderie.
STEP: to leave, to depart (1) briskly, quickly.
STOOSH/STOSHUS: upper class, high tone, "hitey-titey".
STRING UP: a muscial rehearsal.
STRUCTURE: body, health.
SU-SU: gossip, the sound of wispering.
SUFFERER: a poor person stuggling to survive.
SUPM, SINTING: something.
TACUMAH: n. character in Anancy tales. Said to be the son of Anancy. Twin'ticuma.
TAKARI/TANKARI: stewed spicy pumpkin.
TALLOWAH: adj. sturdy, strong, fearless, physically capable. From Ewe talala.
TAM: deep woolen hat, used by Dreads to cover their locks.
TAMBRAN SWITCH: n. a flail made from the wiry branches of the Tamarind tree, braided and oiled. Effective and much feared in the hands of Babylon.
TAN': to stand; usually used in the sense of "to be". "A so im tan", "that is what he is like"; "tan deh!" or "yu tan deh!" means "just you wait!". "Tan tedy", stand steady, means "hold still".
TARRA-WARRA: a polite way of expressing omitted bad words, a verbal asterisk.
TATA: n. father. Affectionate and respectful title for an old man. Fram many african languages. Ewe, Ge, N'gombe.
TATU: a little thatched hut, often made of bamboo.
TEIF: a theif, to steal.
THE I: (pron.) -you, yourself, yours.
TOAST: (v.) - to rap or sing spontaneously over a dub track.
TOTO: coconut cake.
TOPANORIS: uptown snobby person, wealthy but mean behind it.
TRACE: to curse or speak abusively to someone.
TUMPA: from stump, as in "tumpa-foot man", a one-foot man.
TUNTI: female organ.
UNO/UNU: you-all. pron. you, plural. In usage close to Afro-American y'awl. From Ibo unu, same meaning.
UPFUL: postitive, encouraging.
UPHILL: positive, righteous.
UPTOWN: the upper classes.
VANK: (v.) - to vanquish, conquer.
VEX: to get angry.
WA DAY: adverbial phrase, the other day.
WA MEK?: why?
WHAFEDOO: we'll have to (make) do or we'll have to deal with it.
WAKL: wattle, a kind of woven bamboo work used to make house walls.
WARRA-WARRA: politely omitted bad words, same as "tarra-warra".
WENCHMAN: a kind of fish, "hail brother john, have you any wenchman?" (from "Row Fisherman Row").
West Indian: The term used to refer to the peoples and cultures of the Caribbean archipelago and parts of the Circum-Caribbean rimlands from present-day Belize to Jamaica in the Greater Antilles to Trinidad and Barbados in the Lesser Antilles.
WH'APPEN?: what's happening?
WHATLEF: What's left over.
WHOLE HEAP: a lot.WINE: "wine" appears in every West Indian dialect, and is literally a corruption of "wind." It means to dance, sometimes seductively.
WINJY: thin and sickly looking.
WIS: vine, liana, from withe.
WOLF: a non-rasta deadlocks.
YA NUH SEE?: you know?
YA: hear, or here.
YABBA: a big clay pot.
YAGA YAGA: Dancehall slang. a way to big up a brethren; to express a greeting or attract attention, i.e. yo! or yush! true friend; bonafide; brethren.
YAHSO: here (place).
YARD: home, one's gates, tenement.
YOUTH: a child, a young man, an immature man.
YUSH: Yush talk is bad boy talk. Or it can be a way of saying "YO". In other words it is a way for rude boys to hail each other up.
Zion: From a Rasta perspective, Zion refers broadly to Africa and more specifically to Ethiopia as the ancestral homeland of all black peoples.
ZUNGU PAN: zinc pan.
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) - Reggaeblitz.com glossary - 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