Jamaican Patois or Patwah was introduced in the 17th century and is an English-based creole language with West African influences. Sometimes referred to as ‘broken-english’ it is a very expressive and colourful language. Although Jamaican official language is English, most of the locals speak Patois in their casual, everyday conversations. So, if you plan visiting Jamaica, knowing the basics of their own local language will always help you!
Ackee: Jamaica’s national fruit
Badda: To not worry or be upset
Baby love: Darling
Back a Yard: Back at home
Badmind: Someone that is jealous
CCease and Sekkle: Stop and relax
Cho: An exclamation of annoyance
Coo yah: Look here
Cum yah: Come here
Choops: Kiss on the cheek
Da one deh: That one
Easy nuh: Chill out
Gwaan: Go on
I and I: We
Jerk: A style of cooking native to Jamaica, in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice
Jah know: God knows
Jammin: Having fun, dancing/singing
Jamdown: Referring to ‘Jamaica’
Jelly: Soft flesh of a young coconut
Just cool boss: relax/calm down
Lawd: Expressing disgust as in ‘ew’
MMi: I, me
Mad mi: Someone is upsetting you
Mi a gwaan easy: Everything is under control.
Mek wi dweet: Let us do it
Mi seh: I say
Mi yout: My youth
Mi yard: My home
Mussa: Must or must be
More Life: To wish someone well/better life
Nek bak: Back of your neck
Nuh fi: Should not
Nine Night: Wake/funeral tradition
Nuff Respect: Utmost respect
Nah jesta: Not joking
Nah tell yuh: I am not telling you
Nyabingi: Gathering of Rastafarian people to celebrate Rastafari
No sah: No sir
OObeah: Spell, Black Magic
Ova deh suh: Over there
Ova Dweet: To over do it
QQuashie: Low class
RRaggamuffin: Street tough
Rasta: Refers to the 'Rastafarian' movement
Ramp: To joke around
Rhaatid: Expression of surprise
Roun deh suh: Around there
Rude bwoy: Bad boy
Sinkle Bible: Aloe Vera
Si mi yah: See me here
UUno: You all
Unuh: You all
Unda deh suh: Under there
WWacha: Look here
Wah do dem: What is wrong with them?
Wah mi seh: What I said/say
Wah yuh name: What’s your name?
Weh yuh up to: What are you up to?
Weh yup ah seh: How are you doing?
Weh we a go do: What are we going to do?
XX amount: Many
Yow cum yah: Hey, come here!
Yuh dun know: You already know it
Yuh good: You good?
Yuh mek mi happy: You make me happy
Yuh nuh ready: You re not ready
Zion: Refers to the utopian place of unity, peace and freedom