wagwan

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English

Etymology

Jamaican Patois or Jamaican English origin. A contraction of "what is going on".

Pronunciation

Interjection

wagwan

  1. (Jamaica, MLE) Greeting equivalent to what's up or what's happening.

Usage notes

  • It is used through out the Jamaican diaspora, including in hip-hop culture and by reggae music fans. The standard response is nagwan / nuttin nah gwaan (nothing is going on).
  • It symbolises a progression of modern language as it is used in many English dialects, for example, in England (especially the South/South Eastern areas such as London) it is starting to be used as a common greeting, rather than a mockery of the Jamaican dialect.

Alternative forms

References

  • Peckham, Aaron (2007). Mo' Urban Dictionary: Ridonkulous Street Slang Defined, Page 223.