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Alternative forms[edit]


Imitative of the act of sucking one's teeth as a gesture of annoyance or disapproval. Native to the English-speaking West Indies, e.g. Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago etc. In Jamaica, the term "kissing teeth" is used instead.


steups (plural steupses)

  1. (Caribbean, dialect, onomatopoeia) The sound made by sucking one's teeth.
    • 2003, Ramabai Espinet, The Swinging Bridge, page 45:
      A loud steups followed.
    • 2004, Anson Gonzalez, Crossroads of Dream, page 57:
      He thought he heard a loud steups somewhere from the dark.
    • 2006, Joy Mahabir, Jouvert, page 78:
      When my mother heard this she let out a loud steups but said nothing.


steups (third-person singular simple present steupses, present participle steupsing, simple past and past participle steupsed)

  1. (Caribbean, Jamaica, dialect, onomatopoeia) To suck one's teeth, indicating disappointment, derision or disgust.
    Synonyms: kiss one's teeth, suck one's teeth
    • 2022, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, When We Were Birds, Hamish Hamilton, page 104:
      ‘Here?’ Petronella steups. ‘Where you think here is?’


See also[edit]