Appendix:Glossary of Trinidadian English

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Although the official language of Trinidad and Tobago is English, the most commonly spoken languages are Trinidadian Creole English and Tobagonian Creole English. Trinidadian usage includes a large number of local words and expressions. Many of these have non-English origins - these derive primarily from French and French Creole, Spanish, various West African languages, and the Indic Bhojpuri. Trinidadian speech is characterised by dropped final consonants and a lack of pluralisation. There is no standard orthography for the written language; written forms which attempt to capture the sound of the language tend to converge.

Words and phrases[edit]

A-B[edit]

A A! - Is an exclamation. When you didn't expect something. Usually used like, "Well, excuse me!" For example: "But, A A!"

  • Ay or Aye - means either hey, or you
  • Allyuh - you all
  • Awa - literally means "or what", but its usage is to make Trinidadian slang flow better. For example, "yuh wastin' muh time, awa?" , literally meaning "are you wasting my time?"
  • Babaash - bootleg rum, i.e., moonshine made from fruits.
  • Bacchanal - commotion, a wild party, a fight between neighbours, family or friends. E.g. The wedding reception was 'real' bacchanal cause of the difference in religions between the bride and groom.
  • Bad - a description of something that is extremely good. It can also be used to describe a sexually promiscuous female (see baddist)
  • Badjohn/Baa-John - a bully
  • Baddist/Bad ting' - an extremely promiscuous female. in recent times, it has been used for men as well, but in a less serious sense
  • Bambozzle - To make some one confused
  • Bazodee - light-headed or in shock [from Fr. abasourdir - to daze]
  • Baigan - eggplant [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Bap - father [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Barra - a deep fried saffron coloured bread (see doubles) [from Hindi]
  • Beta - son [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Beti - daughter [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • BeeWee - BWIA West Indies Airways, the former national airline of Trinidad and Tobago. The acronym for British West Indian Airlines is often colloquially referred to as Better Wait In Airport, Big Wait In Airport, Better Walk If Able, But Will It Arrive, Bankrupt West Indian Airlines, etc.
  • Bhaji - Various green leafy vegetables (especially amaranth or dasheen).
  • Bhandanya - Eryngium foetidum, an aromatic herb used as a spice (also known as Shado beni or Chadon benit). [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Bingo Bags - A large pair of female underwear, usually found worn on Elder women (70 and above). Also referred to as "Granny Panties"
  • Blasted - used to emphasise other words (for example - "gih mih de blasted ting nah!" ["give me the damn thing please"]) when one is irritated. It is used in a more vulgar sense, though is more acceptable than direct foul language. Similar words are blinkin, stinkin, friggin and flickin.
  • Blinkin - used to emphasise other words (for example - "gih mih de blinkin ting nah!" ["give me the damn thing please"]) when one is irritated. It is used in a more vulgar sense, though is more acceptable than direct foul language. Similar words are stinkin, blasted, friggin and flickin.
  • Bobbol - illegal activity, usu. in the context of corporate criminality, white-collar crime or political corruption.
  • Bobolee - a figure of Judas beaten at easter or a stupid person
  • Bodi - pole beans [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Bol' face - a brazen or demanding person, a person who speaks or acts using indiscretion
  • Booboolups - overweight or out of shape. Can also be used to romantically or sarcastically describe affection for an overweight female.
  • Bois - (pronounced "Bwah") 1. A big heavy stick (or 2x4), used for harming others. 2. To beat someone badly. Eg. "Move, boy or I go give yuh bois."
  • Bone - to have sexual intercourse. May also refer to the male genitals. (Contrast though with the phrase "Trini to de Bone!")
  • Bonx - to hit or slam. Also used to indicate a type of greeting where the participants (usu. male) gently touch each other's closed fists.
  • Boof - to rough someone up or insult them or to scold someone. Can also be used to refer to the person who was roughed up or insulted (derived from "buff"). E.g. Sarah boofed Brian for leaving without her. Brian 'get' boof up for leaving without Sarah. (Alt spelling "bouff").
  • Break Biche - to leave or shirk one's duties in favour of liming, usu. in the context of secondary school or work. E.g. Brian & Ricardo break biche to go to the Arcade.
  • Breathel/Furr Mouth - halitosis
  • Bredda - brother
  • Breds - brethren
  • Broughtupcy - manners, upbringing
  • Bull - to have sex (whether heterosexual or homosexual in nature)
  • Buller - one who bulls, but usually in the context of, or suggesting, a homosexual act (see Bullerman) (derogatory)
  • Bullerman - one who engages in homosexual activity

C-D[edit]

  • Chenet - The fruit of Melicoccus bijugatus tropical American tree having small fragrant greenish-white flowers and small fruits with a green leathery rind and a juicy yellowish translucent pulp.
  • Chile - child (pron. "ch-isle").
  • Chinkey/choonkey - small
  • Chip - a walking shuffle step done to slower soca tunes
  • Chook - to pierce (or jook), usu. in reference to needles. Can also refer to dancing which involves the thrusting of one's hips forward sharply into the rear of another. May also refer to sexual intercourse. E.g. Riad took a little chook from the girl.
  • Chupid - stupid
  • Coskel - overdressed; also cosquelle
  • Chune - tune
  • Commesse- confusion or controversy [from French]
  • Congo Pepper - a variety of Capsicum pepper.
  • Cratchy cocoa - Scratching of the male genitals ("cocoa" is a slang term which refers to the penis).
  • Cunumunu - a stupid naive person, or a really shy person
  • Cut a night - spend a night away from your home, e.g. "I hear Lesmond went by he girl place, fell sleep and cut a night; he ga get planass for dat!"
  • Cyah - Can't
  • Cyat - A somewhat derogative term reserved usually for a woman that is perceived to have unattractive character traits. This word is derived from the colloquial meaning of a "cat" or "pussy" representing a vagina. The woman, or sometimes the man, who is deemed a cyat is thought to be ignorant of their actions and behaving in an unrealistic manner. One such example is: "Gosh, that woman behaving like a cyat eh!"
  • Dan - a word similar to the American slang usage of "man", and can be used to speak to a friend or to a random person. Usually only used for men
  • Dat - that
  • De - the
  • Dhal - ground up split peas [from Bhojpuri or Hindi] (alt. spelling, Dal).
  • Dingolay - dance wildly
  • Doubles - a sandwich of sorts made with a saffron coloured bread and curried chick pea filling. There is no singular form of the word.
  • Dalpuri - a type of roti with ground up split peas inside [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Dey- there
  • Dhoti - the traditional white clothing of an Indian man [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Doolahin - wife or bride [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Dougla - a person of mixed Afro-Trinidadian and Indo-Trinidadian heritage, more recently this term is used to refer to anyone of mixed (interracial) parentage. [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Dotish - (doltish) stupid
  • Doux doux - sweet, a term of endearment, esp. in the context of romantic love, or caring for a baby or small child. E.g. Leanna doux douxed the crying baby in her arms until it fell asleep.
  • Dunce - When a person is not considered smart. Some one who does not have a good interlect.
  • Dutty - Dirty.
  • Duttyness - Dirtiness. An abhorrent person. "Eg. David slept with an 8 year old goat. He is a real duttyness."
  • Dress 'round' - means to move over

E-F[edit]

  • Eh Eh - an expression indicating one's disapproval
  • Eh Heh - translates to "is that so"
  • Ent? - "isn't that so?" , "right?" (used at the end of a sentence for emphasis; is similar to Spanish "¿no?")
  • Fadda - a word to adress another male figure, whether friend, acquaintance or foe
  • Fas - nosy
  • Fête - a party, usually the parties around Carnival time are referred to as fêtes.
  • Flambeau - a lighted torch
  • Flickin - used to emphasise other words (for example - "gih mih de flickin ting nah!" ["give me the damn thing please"]) when one is irritated. It is used in a more vulgar sense, though is more acceptable than direct foul language. Similar words are blinkin, blasted, friggin and stinkin.
  • Flim - film
  • Friggin - used to emphasise other words (for example - "gih mih de friggin ting nah!" ["give me the damn thing please"]) when one is irritated. It is used in a more vulgar sense, though is more acceptable than direct foul language. Similar words are blinkin, blasted, stinkin and flickin.
  • Frontish - a bold demanding person, someone who loves attention or being in the middle of things.
  • Fyahz - when a tobo(turbo) down car over fast.

G-H[edit]

  • Gih Dem/Geeh Dem - means to give someone something i.e., an object or a verbal assault
  • Giddy - dizzy
  • Gobar - talking nonsense
  • Gramoxone - trade name for paraquat dichloride, a weed killer, commonly used to commit suicide. Any poison ingested, will still be called gramoxone, whether or not if it was actually gramoxone. A very popular choice. E.g., "Yuh hear? She drink gramoxone and dead!" sometimes called "Indian Champagne/Tonic" since at one time it was usually only persons of Indian descent that used this as the method of choice to commit suicide.
  • Hef - to guage the weight of something by lifting it. E.g., "I too weak to lift dat bag. Hef it yuhself an see how heavy it is."
  • Horn - to cheat on someone, to be unfaithful (unknown derivation: Horny) (relating to the horns associated with cuckoldry)
  • Hornerman - the man with whom a woman (already involved in a committed relationship) is having an affair.
  • Hornerwoman - the woman with whom a man (already involved in a committed relationship) is having an affair.
  • Hoss/Horse - a good friend or pal.

I-J[edit]

  • Jahji bundle - A big bag containing one's personal items. E.g., "Dis one always walk wid she jahji bundle everyway she go."
  • Jagabat - woman of ill repute (specifically, a female prostitute), also jammet
  • Jammet/Jammette (Djamet) - a woman or questionable morals or a woman who adopts a rather abrasive and aggressive form of communication with the public.
  • Jhanjat - a big fight, trouble or confusion [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Jock - to masturbate, especially male masturbation (a slang term, but not ordinarily considered derogatory or rude). Contrast with traditional North American defintion of "Jock".
  • Jumbie - Someone who constantly harasses you eg:" He only jumbie-ing me" or a ghost eg:" Ah see ah jumbie last night!"
  • Jus-now - In a moment, just a moment please, just awhile ago or wait

gabba- butt or ass.. especially if its big

K-L[edit]

  • Khurma - a traditional Indian sweet that is deep fried and coated with sugar [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Kilkeedey - to fall awkwardly or how you look on the floor after falling awkwardly, usually with arms flailed in some odd sort of fashion. Eg. "When de defenda' tackle him, Roger fall down kilkeedey on de ground"
  • Kuchela - a hot mango condiment [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Lagniappe - bonus
  • Lick-up - to smash or annihilate someone or something (also: lick-down). Can also be used to indicate consumption or completion of food or drink, usu. in a greedy or hurried manner. E.g. We lick-up the KFC before we went to the party.
  • Lime/Liming - a party or any get-together/to hang out, or (more recently) to date someone
  • Locho -(pronounced low-cho) a person who "mooches" off of someone else

M-N[edit]

  • Macafouchette - left over food [from Fr. ma ca fourchette - food stuck between the fork]
  • Maco - a nosy person/peeping Tom (also: Macco, Macocious, Macomere), or the act of being nosy
  • Maljo - evil eye [from Fr. mal yeux - bad eyes]
  • Malkadee - convulse
  • Mamaguy - to falsely compliment someone with the hope of indirectly persuading them in your favor [from Spanish 'mamar gallo']
  • Mamoo - A maternal uncle.
  • Mampee - An extremely overweight female (usually ones you find working at various KFC or Royal Castle outlets).
  • Manicou - An one of five species of opossum, most commonly Didelphis marsupialis
  • Mauvais langue - to malign
  • Mook - a person who is shy, or socially awkward. (also: Mooksie)
  • Muddacunt - a vulgar curse word cursing a mother's vagina. (usually used in the phrase "haul yuh muddacunt" or simply "yuh muddacunt", meaning "fuck off" in a somewhat more vulgar fashion. is also used when angrily suprised by a situation and is usually dictated: "but what de muddacunt is dis?" or more simply, "what de muddacunt is dis?", or "what de muddacunt?"
  • NATO - Acronym for No Action Transport Only used for person who drives a car full of women but will not be getting any "action" hence no dig or chook.
  • NAH - 1. A means of responding negatively (i.e. saying no). 2. A means of saying please (e.g. lemme get a wet ah yuh sof' drink nah?") 3. A random useless english of sentences (e.g.1 i eh really know na, eg.2 SWEAR TO GOD NAH)
  • Neemakharam - Ingrate, especially in a political context [from Hindi or Urdu "Namak Harama"]

O-P[edit]

  • Oh Geed! - an expression used when someone hears or see something that is deemed to be gross
  • Ol' ho - a promiscuous older woman.
  • Obeah or Obi-ah - black magic
  • Obzokie - awkward, out of place usu. in a derogatory manner.
  • Pholourie - deep fried flour balls
  • Pommerac - Syzygium malaccense or Otaheite apple, a pear shaped fruit become bright red when ripe, also know as the Malay apple or Wax Jamboo
  • Pommecythere - Spondias cytherea or Golden apple, a fruit with a green skin, which when ripe turns to a gold colour.
  • Pot Hound - Usually refers stray dog that probably is not of a specific breed or a dog that eats anything off the street (also: Pot Hong). May also refer to a person of mixed ethnic background. (This is a racially offensive use of the term)
  • Preshaah! - pressure, to feel pressure due to a situation one is in
  • Pull Bull - To operate an unlicensed taxi, using your private car as a taxi in order to earn extra money. To operate a licensed taxi without a taxi-driver's license. Also referred to as doing 'PH'. May also refer to male masturbation.
  • PJ-To be on a Private Job

Q-R[edit]

  • Raaff - To snatch something. To steal in a boldface manner
  • Real/Rehl - extremely (for example, "dah real bad" means "that's really good"

S-T[edit]

  • Sahina - deep fried dhal with either spinach, pakchoi (bok choy), or dasheen [from Bhojpuri or Hindi]
  • Scyant - To b-boy or breakdance.
  • Scyant-out - A breakdancing battle.
  • Soca-Princess A female player in the Trinidad & Tobago National Footbal(soccer) Team
  • Socawarrior - A male player in the Trinidad & Tobago National Footbal(soccer) Team
  • Socawarriors - The male National Football (Soccer) Team
  • Sock Eye - Boasting that something is 'really easy' to do, when its not easy to the average person.
  • Sometimeish - Describes a moody or unpredictable person.
  • Soucouyant - A female thought to be a vampire, who sheds her skin and flies in the night sky as a ball of fire. This term is also used to describe an evil woman.
  • Steups - the act of sucking air pass one's teeth, creating a sound of disapproval (also: steupse, chups, cheeups)
  • Stinkin - used to emphasise other words (for example - "gih mih de stinkin ting nah!" ["give me the damn thing please"]) when one is irritated. It is used in a more vulgar sense, though is more acceptable than direct foul language. Similar words are blinkin, blasted, friggin and flickin.

silence wheel or big foot- filaria... caused by mosquitoes

  • Tabanca - In a love sick state. Describes how someone feels after being cheated on by their loved one. Can also describe unrequited loved. (Taban-truck is the more severe form of Taban-car].
  • Tatu - Nine-banded Armadillo
  • I wan tuh hail out - I would like to "shout out/big up"
  • Teef - Thief
  • Tanty - aunt, also a term for any woman older than oneself
  • Throw Waist - to dance, specifically to "wine"
  • Tootoolbay - In a confused state or in a daze because of love. Similar to Bazodee. E.g. Richie was tootoolbay after he met the girl in the fete.
  • Toe Jam - Foot fungus that smells on unclean feet.
  • Toting - One who carries feelings or holds a grudge for an unnecessary amount of time.
  • Trini to de Bone! - Pride in oneself for being a Trinidadian.
  • Touchlight- A flashlight.

U-V[edit]

  • Vikey Vike/ Vikey Vai - to act with irresponsibility, or to act without concern for others. To do something in a haphazard manner.

Eg. "De country in turmoil because of vikey vike decision making." Eg. "My wife acting vikey vike. Everytime my back turn she out de door limin' with she friends"

W-X[edit]

  • Wajang - "Ghetto/ Hood rat" usually associated with poor conduct
  • Wuz de scene? - A casual greeting equivalent to what's happening. (is sometimes said "wuz de good?" or "wuz de vibes?)
  • Wham now? - Greeting equivalent to "what's happening now". E.g. "Aye Reeza, wham now?".
  • Whappen?/Wham? - What happened?
  • Whey/Whey Sah - Something shocking, astonishing or unbelievable. E.g. "Whey! If you did see that show!"
  • Wine - a seductive form of dance involving circular or semi-circular movement of the hips especially. Can be done alone, with a partner, or many partners. E.g. "Javed was wining in the party on several women".
  • Way- Where, for example "way yuh dey?" means "where are you?"

Y-Z[edit]

  • Yampee - the mucus that surrounds one's eye in the morning
  • Yankee - pronounced (Yang-kee) an American
  • Ying/Yeng - a derogatory slang word meaning tight. Mostly used to refer to someone's clothing (primarily pants).
  • Yuh - you
  • Zaboca - avocado

References[edit]

  • Allsopp, Jeannette. 2003. The Multilingual Caribbean Dictionary of Flora, Fauna and Foods in English, French, French Creole and Spanish. Kingston: Arawak Press.
  • Allsopp, Richard. 1996. Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage, with a French and Spanish Supplement. Oxford: O.U.P.
  • Mendes, John. 2003. Cote Ci, Cote La - Trinidad & Tobago Dictionary. 2nd edition. Port-of-Spain: Medianet.
  • Ottley, C.R. 1971. Creole Talk (Trinibagianese) of Trinidad and Tobago: Words, Phrases, and Sayings Peculiar to the Country. Diego Martin: the Author.