Jamaican Colloquialisms Over The YearsPublished Sep 10, 2012
Jamaicans are known for their patois and very unique way of labeling people, places or things. Some of the slang words that have been created over the years, have been adopted and utilized by other cultures inappropriately. Primarily, because they are not aware of the correct meanings associated with the words. Affluent Jamaicans rarely talk about the connotations of the words because the meanings are usually derogatory in nature or associated with lack of education and class. Some of the words we may have been privy to over the years are as follows:
Quarshie: A word to describe individuals who are not accustomed to anything. Similar to a "country bumpkin". Jamaicans may call someone a Quarshie if they don't know how to dress or speak or are not acquainted with the finer things in life."
Bhutu: A person who is very unpolished, lacking etiquette and speaks improper English. Someone who lacks good taste.
Fenky-Fenk: Shy or dull. Ms Lou would say, "What kind of fenky-fenky singing is that?"
Poly: If someone is acting "poly", it means they are acting sick and feeble.
Jing-Bang: "Jing-Bang" is another name for "carouches" , things or to describe a crowd. For instance, "The lady moved her jing-bang dem into the house".
It can either mean things or people.
Yegge-Yegge: Loud, brash, uncouth individuals who are known for outlandish behaviour.
Dibi-Dibi: Usually used as a way to describe some women in reggae songs. "Dibi-Dibi Gals" are women who have no self esteem, integrity, or pride in themselves. They are usually available to the highest bidders and are considered loose.
Shine-yeye gal: A woman who wants everything that she sees. Someone whose only goal in life is to keep up with the Joneses.
Red Eye: If someone is labeled "red eye" it means that they are covetous and usually wants what another person has.
Tetes: Someone may be called a "clothes tetes" "man tetes" or "street tetes". The terminology describes people who are obsessed with clothes, men,or who prefer to run the streets without a cause. (anything done in excess)
"Ole Neygah": Although no longer politically correct, the term is still used in vicious gossip when folks are trying to describe people who don't have proper heritage or upbringing. Their taste in clothing and products are often unsophisticated and colorful.
Mocomanian: A term used to describe someone fresh from the country, who uses broken English on a regular basis.
Eye-Sore: The "eyesore" of any group or family is said to be someone who is envied. A person who is hated or talked about because of his/her endearing qualities.
Boasie: A person is called boasie, if they carry themselves in a dignified manner, keeping themselves separate from impropriety or idle gossip. Their language and vocabulary may be refined.
Speaky-spokie: This term is usually used to describe persons who try to "put on" various dialects or twangs. Phony language imitators.
Poppyshow: An avant garde dresser, someone who stands out by creating attention around themselves.
"Fallow-fashin-monkey": The saying "Fallow-fashin-monkey never drink good soup yet". This term is associated with individuals tend to copy others, or compete with them without seeking their own path. They usually do not have a solid foundation, therefore they stand for every and anything.
Stocious: Jamaican Women are usually described as being stocious because they are very particular about the way they dress, the people they associate with and the foods they eat. Their attire is usually pristine and well thought out.
Crisp: This terminology refers to persons who are formidable and worthy, especially as friends or mates.
Ready or No Ready: If a person is said to be "Ready", they are right and suitable. If they are labeled "No Ready", something is wrong with them. He or she may be a mess.
"Not righted": If a person is called "not too righted", they are said to be crazy or off dem rockas.
Mouth-a-massie: A description of someone who indulges in idle gossip or talks too much. A person unable to keep a secret.
Madame Lashy: This terminology describes a woman who is sassy and quick with rebuttals. Someone who is good at cursing and arguments.
Mamparlour Man: This phrase describes a man who is very inquisitive, involving himself in feminine activities.
Macca-Braccas: Rude and disorderly folks.
Roonkus-poonkus: Strange goings-on
Chegg: A term people use when describing dealings, for instance, "Dem chegg up de business." It means to mess up or undermine.
Trace: Usually referred to an artistic terminology, however, in Jamaica if someone "Trace" you., they are talking bad about you or arguing with you.
Almshouse: An expression to describe a poor house, or shabby surroundings.
Haul N Pull-Up: A messed up situation.
Boops: A man or woman who takes care of another man or woman financially.
Coof: An expression used to desribe a slap, box or thump.
These are just a few of our sharp colloquialisms used to express strong feelings about people or circumstances. Most of these words are associated with negativity, therefore if we are children of God, we should seek to be more positive and encouraging always. Remember, when we point a finger at someone, there are three or more fingers pointing back at us.