Rasta Dictionary


Compiled by Mike Pawka


A : prep. to as in "go a shop," from Spanish (7)

A GO : aux w/v. going to do, as in "Me a go tell him" (7)

A DOOR : outdoors. (5)

ACCOMPONG : n. name of Maroon warrior, Capt. Accompong, brother of

Cudjo; also name of town. From the Twi name for the

supreme deity (7)

ACKEE : n. African food tree introduced about 1778. From Twi

ankye or Kru akee (7)

AGONY : the sensations felt during sex (6)

ALIAS : adj. (urban slang) dangerous, violent (7)

AN : than (5)

ARMAGEDDON : the biblical final battle between the forces of good

and evil (1)

ASHAM : n. Parched, sweetened, and ground corn. From twi

osiam (7)


BABYLON : 1. the corrupt establishment, the "system,

" Church and State 2. the police, a policeman (1)

BAD : good, great (2)

BADNESS : hooligan behavior, violence for its own sake (1)

BAFAN : clumsy; awkward (5)

BAFANG : a child who did not learn to walk the 1st 2-7 years. (5)

BAG-O-WIRE : a betrayer (1)

BAGGY : underpants for a woman or child. (5)

BALMYARD : n. place where pocpmania rites are held, healing is

done, spells cast or lifted (7)

BAKRA : white slavemaster, or member of the ruling class in

colonial days. Popular etymology:

"back raw" (which he bestowed with a whip.) (5)

BALD-HEAD : a straight person; one without dreadlocks;

one who works for babylon (2)

BAMBA YAY : by and by (7)

BAMBU : rolling paper (1)

BAMMY : a pancake made out of cassava, after it has been grated

and squeezed to remove the bitter juice. (5)

BANDULU : bandit, criminal, one living by guile (1)

a BANDULU BIZNESS is a racket, a swindle. (5)

BANGARANG : hubbub, uproar, disorder, disturbance. (5)

BANKRA : a big basket, including the type which hangs over the

sides of a donkey. (5)

BANS : from bands; a whole lot, a great deal, nuff,

whole heap. (5)

BAT : butterfly or moth. English bat, the flying rodent,

is a rat-bat. (5)

BATTY : bottom; backside; anus. (5)

BATTYBWOY : a gay person (6)

BEAST : a policeman (1)

BEX : vex (verb), or vexed (adjective). (5)

BHUTTU (BUHTUH) : an uncouth, out of fashion, uncultured person

Use: Wey yu a go inna dem deh cloze? Yu fayva buttu (12)

BISSY : cola nut. (5)

BLACK UP : To smoke weed. Like somene would ask "You Black up today?" Meaning

: did you smoke today? (14)

BLY : chance, "must get a bly", "must get a chance". (4)

BOASIE : adj. proud, conceited, ostentatious. Combination of

English boastful and Yoruba bosi-proud and ostentatious


BOASIN TONE : Swollen penis or testicles (13)

BOBO : fool. (5)

BOONOONOONOUS : Meaning wonderful. (13)

BOX : To smack or to hit in the face. (13)

BRAA : from BREDDA; brother. (5)

BRAATA : a little extra; like the 13th cookie in a baker's dozen;

or an extra helping of food. In musical shows it has

come to be the encore. (5)

BREDREN : one's fellow male Rastas (1)

BRINDLE : to be angry (6)

BRINKS : title given to a man who is supplying a woman with money


BUBU : fool. (5)

BUCKY : home-made gun (2)

BUD : bird. (14)

BUFU-BUFU : fat, swollen, blubbery; too big; clumsy or lumbering.(5)

BUGUYAGA : a sloppy, dirty person, like a bum or tramp. (5)

BULL BUCKA : a bully (1)

BULLA : a comon sugar and flour cookie or small round cake,

sold everywhere in Jamaica. (5)


(TO GET) BUN : to have one's spouse or girl/boy-friend cheat on

oneself, to be cheated out of something (6)


BLOOD CLOT : curse words (1)

BUMBO : bottom; backside. A common curse word, especially in

combination with CLOT (cloth),

a reference to the days before toilet paper. (5)

BUNGO : n. racially pejorative. Crude, black, ignorant,

boorish person. From Hausa bunga-bumpkin, nincompoop (7)

BUNKS : to knock or bump against, from "to bounce",

BUNKS MI RES, catch my rest, take a nap. (5)

BWOY : Boy (13)


(THE) CAT : a woman's genitals (6)

CALLALOU : A spinach stew. (18)

CARD : to fool someone (6)

CEASE & SEKKLE! : stop everything and relax! (6)

CERACE : a ubiquitous vine used for boiling medicinal tea,

and for bathing. It is proverbial for its bitterness.(5)

CHA! or CHO! : a disdainful expletive (1) pshaw! (2) very common, mild

explanation expressing impatience, vexation or

disappointment. (5)

CHAKA-CHAKA : messy, disorderly, untidy. (5)

CHALICE or CHILLUM : a pipe for smoking herb, usually made from coconut shell

or CHALEWA : and tubing, used ritually by Rastas (1)

CHEAP : just as cheap, just as well. (5)

CHIMMY : chamber pot. (5)

CHO : very common, mild explanation expressing impatience,

vexation or disappointment. (5)

CLAP : hit, break, stride (1)

CLOT : 1. cloth, an essential part of most Jamaican bad words,

such as bumbo clot, rass clot, blood clot, etc.

The essence of Jamaican cursing seems to be nastiness

, rather than the blashemy or sexuality which is

characteristic of the metropolitan countries.

2. to hit or strike - from the verb "to clout". (5)

COCO : a potato-like edible root, known elsewhere as the taro

or the eddo.

It was brought to Jamaica from the South Pacific.

This is completely distinct from cocoa, usually called

chocolate. (5)

COIL : money (6)

COME DUNG : come down, get ready (as to prepare to play a tune) (6)

COME EEN LIKE : to seem as if; to resemble. (5)

CONTROL : to be in charge of, responsible for, to own; to take (1)

COO 'PON : v. (origin unclear) Look upon! (7)

COO YAH : v. (origin unclear) Look here! (7) pay attention (17)

COOL RUNNINGS : a greeting; things are going smoothly (1)

COOLIE : the traditional Jamaican epithet for East Indians.

It is never used It is never used for Chinese Jamaicans.

Usually in the form coolie-man or coolie-oman.

It is not considered polite today anymore than the term

nega, but it is still used widely in rural areas. (5)

n. (urban slang) ganja (7)

COME YAH (cumyu) : come here. (17)

CORK UP : jammed, filled, crowded (2)

CORN : 1. marijuana 2. money 3. a bullet (1)

COTCH : verb (cotch up), to support something else, as with a

forked stick; to balance something or place it

temporarily; to beg someone a cotch, can be a place on

a crowded bus seat or bench; or it may mean to cotch a

while, to stay somewhere temporarily. (5)

COTTA : a roll of cloth or vegetation placed on top of the head

to cushion the skull from the weight of a head load. (5)

CRAB : aside from it's usual meaning, it is a verb meaning to

scratch or claw. (5)

CRAVEN : greedy (5)

CRIS : crisp; popularly used for anything brand-new,

slick-looking. (5)

CRISSARS : crisp, brand-new (2)

CROMANTY : adj. from Corromantee, Blacks from the Gold Coast

believed to be rebellious (7)

CROSSES : problems, vexations, trials; bad luck, misfortunes. (5)

CRUCIAL : serious, great, "hard,", "dread" (1)

CUBBITCH : covetous. (5)

CUDJO : n. name of famous Maroon warrior; mn born on Monday,

from Fante, Twi kudwo (7)

CULTURE : reflecting or pertaining to the roots values and

traditions highly respected by the Rastas (1)

CUSS-CUSS : a quarrel or fracas, with lots of cursing. (5)

CUT YAI : to cut your eye at somebody is a very common means of

expressing scorn or contempt, for example; one catches

the other person's eye, then deliberatly turns one's

own eyes as an insult. (5)

CUTCHIE : pipe for communal smoking. (5)

CYAAN : cannot, can't (6)


D.J. : a person who sings or scats along with dub music,

sometimes called "toasting" (2)

DAAL : split peas, usually a thick soup, from Indian cuisine,

from Hindi. (5)

DADA : father (6)

DALLY : executive zig-zag movements on wheels (2) or on foot (6)

to ride a bicycle or motorbike with a weaving motion,

as when ones weaves around potholes. (5)

DAN DADA : the highest of DON'S (6)

DAN : than (5)

DARKERS : sunglasses (6)

DASHEEN : a big soft yam-like root, often slightly greyish when

cooked. It is related to the coco, but one eats the

"head" instead of the tubers. (5)

DAWTA : a girl, woman, "sister," girlfriend (1)

DEAD WOOD : (the w is silent) = A man that can't perform sexually. Impotent. (14)

DEADERS : meat, meat by-products (1)

DEESTANT : decent. (5)

DEGE or DEGE-DEGE : adjective, little, skimpy, measly, only, as in a two

dege-dege banana. (5)

DEH : there (place) (6)

DEY : v. to be, exist, as in "No yam no dey". From Ewe de or

Twi de - to be (7)

DI : the (6)

DINKI : a kind of traditional dance at funerals or "nine nights"

("set-ups"); now popular among school children. (5)

DIS or DIS YA : this (6)

DJEW : as a verb, rain a djew; as a noun, djew rain.

It means a light rain or drizzle. (5)

DOGHEART : a person who is especially cold and cruel (6)

DOLLY : executive zig-zag movements on wheels (2)

DON : one who is respected, master of a situation (6)

DONKYA : from "don't care"; careless, sloppy, lacking ambition,

etc. (5)

DOONDOOS : an albino. (5)

DOWNPRESSOR : preferred term for oppressor (1)

DOTI : earth (19)

(TO) DRAW CARD : the act of fooling someone (6)

DREAD : 1. a person with dreadlocks

2. a serious idea or thing

3. a dangerous situation or person

4. the "dreadful power of the holy"

5. experientially, "awesome, fearful confrontation of

a people with a primordial but historically denied

racial selfhood" (1)

DREADLOCKS : 1. hair that is neither combed nor cut 2. a person with

dreadlocks (1)

DREADY : a friendly term for a fellow dread (1)

DUB : a roots electronic music, created by skillful,

artistic re-engineering of recorded tracks (2)

DUCK-ANTS : white ants, or termites. (5)

DUKUNU : sweet corn-meal dumplings boiled in wrapped leaves. (5)

DUNDUS : an albino. (5)

DUNGLE : n. legendary West Kingston slum surrounding a garbage

dump, now cleared. (7)

: From English dunghill

DUNS,DUNSA : money (1)

DUPPY : a ghost (1)

DUTCHY : dutch cooking pot, low round-bottomed heavy pot. (5)


EASE-UP : to forgive, to lighten up (6)


& CURRY : all is well, all is taken care of (6)


FALLA FASHIN : Copycat (13)

FAS' : to be fast with, meaning to be rude, impertinent,

to meddle with sombody's business, to be forward, etc.


FASSY : eczema-like scratchy sores on the skin;

also a verb meaning to cause oneself to be covered with

fassy by scratching. (5)

FAYVA : to favour, resemble, or look like; "fayva like"

also means "it seems as if". (5)

FE : the infinitive "to" as in "Have fe go" (7)

FEEL NO WAY : don't take offense, don't be sorry, don't worry (1)

FENKY-FENKY : (from finicky) choosy, proud, stuck-up. (5)

FENNEH : v. to feel physical distress, pain. From Twi

fene-to vomit; Fante fena-to be troubled; Lumba

feno-to faint (7)

FI : possessive. "fi me"-"mine" (7) Can also mean

: "for" or "to", as in "I ha' fi", I have to.

: Yu num fi du dat = You are not to do that. (12)

FIESTY : impudent, rude, out of order, cheeky. (5)

FIRST LIGHT : tomorrow (1)

(HIM A) FISH : a gay person (6)

FIT : when used of fruits and vegetables,

it means ready to pick, full grown,

though not necessarily fully ripe. (5)

FORWARD : 1. to go, move on, set out 2. in the future (1)

FRONTA : tobacco leaf used to roll herb (1)

FUCKERY : wrong, unfair (6)


TO THE FULLNESS : completely, absolutely, totally (1)

FUNDS : Money (6)


GAAN TO BED : an adverbial phrase; following a verb of liking or

loving, it has a superlative meaning;

Can be used in any context,

such as "I love hafu yam gaan to bed!". (5)

GALANG : go along. (23)

GANJA : herb, marijuana (1)

GANSEY : t-shirt, any knit shirt (2)

(TO) GET SALT : to be thwarted, to encounter misfortune (6)

GATES : home, yard (1)

GENERAL : cool operator (1)

GIG : spinning top. (5)

GINNAL : n. trickster, con-man, an Amnancy figure as in "Sunday

Ginnal"-a preacher or clergyman (7)

GLAMITY : a woman's genitals (6)

GORGON : outstanding dreadlocks (1)

(DON) GORGON : outstanding dreadlocks, a person who is respected (2,6)

GRAVALICIOUS : greedy, avaricious. (5)

GRINDSMAN : one who displays great prowess in bed(6)

GROUNATION : large, island-wide meeting and celebration of Rastas (1)

GROUND : home, yard (4)


HACKLE : to hassle, bother, worry, trouble. As a noun, hackling.


HAFFI : to have to... (6)

HAIL : a greeting (1)

HARD : excellent, proficient, skillful, uncompromising (1)

HEETCH : itch. Many such words could be listed under H,

as initial H is added to scores of words at will. (5)

HEAD MAN JANCRO : n. albino buzzard (7)

HERB : marijuana (1)

HIEZ-HAAD : ears-hard, thick skulled, stubborn, unwilling or unable

to hear. (5)

HIEZ : ears. (5)

HIGGLERS : higglers, who are primarly woman who buy and sell goods

that they have imported into the country. Some higglers,

however, do not make trips out of the country to buy

goods, but sell the goods that others import. The

connection between higglers and dancehall culture is

crucial as they form one of the strongest international

links between JA, North America, and the Caribbean. (16) HITEY-TITEY : upper class, high tone, "stoosh". (5)

HOMELY : to be relaxed, comfortable, enjoying your home surrounding. (14)

HOOD : penis. (5)

HORTICAL (DON) : respected, acclaimed (6)

HOT-STEPPER : fugitive from jail or gun court (1)


I-MAN : I, me, mine (1)

I-NEY : a greeting (2)

I-REY : 1. a greeting 2. excellent, cool, highest (1)

I-SHENCE : herb (1)

I-TAL : vital, organic, natural, wholesome; refers to way of

cooking and way of life (1)

in colors, red, green and gold (2)

I : replaces "me", "you", "my"; replaces the first syllable

of seleted words (1) I and I, I&I: I, me, you and me,

we (1)

Rastafari speech eliminates you, me we, they, etc.,

as divisive and replaces same with communal I and I.

I and I embraces the congregation in unity with the

Most I (high) in an endless circle of inity (unity). (3)

IEZ-HAAD : ears-hard, thick skulled, stubborn, unwilling or

unable to hear. (5)

IEZ : ears. (5)

ILIE : adj. literally, "highly", valuable, exalted, even

sacred (7)

IGNORANT : short-tempered, easy to vex, irate. (5)

INNA DI MORROWS : tomorrow (6)

INNA : In the (4)

IRIE : adj. powerful and pleasing (7)

ISMS and SKISMS : negative term denoting Babylon's classificatory systems


ITES : 1. the heights

2. a greeting

3. the color red (1) great (2)


JA, JAM-DOWN : Jamaica (1)

JACKASS ROPE : homegrown tobacco, twisted into a rope. (5)

JAH KNOW : Lord knows (1)

JAH : God; possibly derived as a shortened form of Jahweh or

Jehovah (1)

Jah Ras Tafari, Haille Selassie, King of Kings, Lord of

Lords, conquering Lion of Judah; rastas revere Haile

Selassie as the personification of the Almighty (2)


JAMDUNG : Jamaica, "Jam" to press down "dung" down. Ironic

reference to social and economic conditions of the

masses (7)

JAMMIN : to be having a good time, to be dancing calypso/soca (6)

JANCRO : n. literally John Crow, buzzard (7)

JANGA : shrimp, crayfish. (5)

JELLY : a young coconut, full of jelly. (5)

JON CONNU : n. (John Canoe). Bands of elaborately masked dancers

appearing around Christmas. They ressemble the

ancestral dancers of West Africa, but the ety. of the

word is unclear. (7)

JOOK : to pierce or stick, as with a thorn or a long pointed

stick. (5)

JUDGIN' : adjective, everyday or ordinary clothes or shoes worn

in the yard or in the bush, as in "judgin' boot".

Also as a verb, to judge, with a similar meaning. (5)

JUU : as a verb, rain a juu; as a noun, juu rain.

It means a light rain or drizzle. (5)


KALI; COOLY : marijuana (1)

KALLALOO : a dark, green leafy vegetable, very nutritious and

cheap. (5)

KASS KASS : n. quarrel or contention. From combination of English

curse or cuss, and Twi kasa kasa-to dispute verbally (7)

KATA : a roll of cloth or vegetation placed on top of the head

to cushion the skull from the weight of a head load. (5)

KEMPS : a little bit, a tiny piece, from skimps. (5)

KISS ME NECK! : common exclamation of surprise. (5)

KISS TEET : to kiss one's teeth or to suck one's teeth is to make

the very common hissing noise of disappoval, dislike,

vexation or disappointment. (5)

KOUCHIE : bowl of a chalice or chillum pipe (1)

KRENG-KRENG : an old-fashioned meat rack, hung up high over the fire

to catch the smoke. (5)

KU : verb, look! (5)

KU DEH! : look there! (5)

KU PAN : look at. (5)

KU YA! : look here! (5)

KU YU : To say "Look at you." To the person you are refering to. (14)

KUMINA : n. Ecstatic dance for the purpose of communicating with

ancestors. From Twi akom-to be possessed and ana-by an

ancestor (7)

KYA : 1. to care; "donkya", don't care, careless; "no kya"

means no matter, as in "no kya weh im tun",

no matter where he turns.

2. to carry. (5)

KYAAN : can't. (5)

KYAI : to carry. (5)

KYAN : can. (5)


LABA-LABA : to chat, gab; gossip. (5)

LABRISH : gossip, chit-chat. (5)

LAGGA HEAD : Dumb acts as if you have no common sense. Stupid.

: "yu dam Lagga head bud" (14)

LAMBSBREAD : a form of high-quality marijuana (1)

LARGE : respected (6)

LEGGO BEAS' : wild, disorderly, like a let-go beast. (5)

LICK : To hit (13)

LICKY-LICKY : fawning, flattering, obsequious. (5)

LILLY BIT : little bit, tiny. (5)

LION : a righteous Dread (1) a great soul (2)

LITTLE MORE : see you later (2)

(TOO) LIKKY-LIKKY : title given to those who like to eat any food they

encounter , without discretion (6)


MAAMA MAN : a gay person, an effeminate man, a weakling (6)

MACA : thorn, prickle. (5)

MADDA : mother (6)

MAFIA : big-time criminals (1)

MAGA DOG : mongrel (4)

MAGA : thin (2) (from meagre) (5)

MAMPI : Fat or overweight (13)

MANACLES : chains (11)

MANNERS : under heavy discipline or punishment. for example

when Kingston is under "heavy manners", they have a

curfew or call out the army. (10)

MARINA : a man's undershirt, guernsey; a tank-top style. (5)

MAROON : n. free black warrior-communities which successfully

resisted British hegemony during eighteenth century

and early nineteenth century. From Spanish cimmaron-

untamed, wild (7)

MASCOT : denoting inferior status (2)

MASH IT UP : a huge success (1)

MASH UP, MASH DOWN : destroy (1)

MAAS : n. from master or massa. Now freed from its class

origin; a respectful form of address to an older man.


MASSIVE : respected (6), used with LARGE to add emphasis

MEK WE : Let Us. (4)

MENELIK, RAS : n. Ethiopian nobleman who rallied his troops to resist

Italian aggression. Defeated Italians at Adowa 1896 (7)

MONKS : amongst. (5)

MORE TIME : see you later (1)

MR. T : the boss (2)

MUS MUS : a rat (4)


/FATHER : the mother/father of my child (1,6)

MYAL : n. a form of benign magic oposed to Obeah, hence

myalman. From Hursa maye-wizard, person of mystic

power. (7)


NAGAH : n. pejorative for a black person (7)

NAGO : n. Yoruba person, practice or language. From Ewe

anago-Yoruba person (7)

NAH : adv. will not. Emphatic as in "Me nah do that" (7)

NANA : midwife; nanny or nurse. (5)

NANNY GOAT : "What sweet nanny goat a go run him belly" is a

cautionary Jamaican proverb which translated means:

What tastes good to a goat will ruin his belly. In

other words - the things that seem good to you now,

can hurt you later... (10)

NASH : female genatalia (6)


NATTY CONGO : 1. dreadlocks 2. a person with dreadlocks (1)

NAZARITE : Ancient Hebrew meaning to "separate", consecrated,

set apart by choice and devotion (1)

NIYABINGHI : 1. "death to all black and white oppressors"

2. East African warriors who resisted colonial


3. large Rastafarian meeting and spiritual gathering

4. referring to orthodox, traditional Rastas

5. a variety of drumming (1)

NIYAMEN : name for Rastas referring to Niyabinghi warriors of

East Africa (1)

NO KYA : no matter, as in "no kya weh im tun", no matter where

he turns. (5)

NO TRUE? : isn't it so? (1)

NUH : interrogative at end of sentence; literally, "Is it

not so?" (7)

NYAM : to eat. (5)

(TOO) NYAMI-NYAMI : title given to those who like to eat any food

they encounter, without discretion (6)

NYING'I-NYING'I : nagging, whining. (5)


O-DOKONO : boiled maize bread. (5)

OBEAH : traditional African "science", relating to matters of

the spirit and spirits, spells, divinations, omens,

extra-sensory knowledge, etc. (5)

OHT FI : about to, on the vergeof, as in "it hoht fi rain",

it is about to rain, it looks like rain. (5)

ONE LOVE : a parting phrase, expression of unity (1)

ONE-ONE : adjective, one by one, thus any small amount. (5)

ONGLE : only. (5)


PAKI : calabash, gourd. (5)

PAPAA : pawpaw, or papaya melon. (5)

PATU : owl. (5)

PAYAKA : heathen (11)

PYAKA : tricky or dishonest. (10)

PEEL-HEAD : bald-headed, usually certain chickens or vultures. (5)

PEENYWALLY : a kind of large fire fly, actually a type of flyig

beetle. (5)

PEER : avocado pear. (5)

PHENSIC : JA equivalent to Tylenol, Excedrin, etc. (26)

PICKY, PICKY HEAD : brush haircut (3)

PICKY-PICKY : 1. finicky or choosy

2. Used of uncombed hair just starting to turn into

dreadlocks. (5)

PIKNY : pickaninny, child. (5)

PINDA : peanut. (5)

PIRA : a low wooden stool. (5)

PITY-ME-LIKL : a type of very tiny red ant whose bite is so hot and

long-lasting it resembles a sting. (5)

POCOMANIA, POCO : christian revival, distinct drum rhythm (2)

POLYTRICKS : politics (by Peter Tosh) (6)

POLYTRICKSTERS : politicians (by Peter Tosh) (6)

POPPY-SHOW : from puppet show, it is used in the idiom,

tek smadi mek poppy-show, which means to make fun of

someone or shame them, making them look ridiculous. (5)

PUM-PUM : a woman's genitals (6)

PUNAANI or PUNNI : a woman's genitals (6)

PUPPALICK : somersalt. (5)

PUSSY CLOT : A curse word ref. to a woman's sanitary napkin. (14)

PUTTIN' AWAY : a preposition, meaning "except for", or "except". (5)

PYAA-PYAA : sickly, weak; feeble, of no account. (5)

PYU : from spew; verb used of running sores or anything

similarly dripping or oozing. (5)


QUASHIE : n. peasant, country bumpkin, coarse and stupid person;

racial pejorative generic term for blacks; originally

Twi name of a boy born on a Sunday (7)

QUIPS : 1. nouns (from squips) a tiny piece or amount.

2. verb, the Jamaican art of washing clothes making a

"squips-squips" sound. (5)


RAATID! : a common mild expletive of surprise or vexation, as in

"to raatid!". It is likely a polite permutation of

"ras", a la "gosh" or "heck". (5)

RANKING : highly respected (1)

RAS or RASS : backside, rump; a common curse is to rass! or rass clot!

a title used by Rastafarians meaning "lord" or "head" .


(TO) RAAS : "really?", "damn!"(6)

RASTA, RASTAFARIAN : a follower of Marcus Garvey who worships the Almighty

in the person of haile Selassie

RAT-BAT : bat, the night-flying rodent. (5)

RATCHET : a switchblade knife popular in Jamaica (1)

RED : 1. very high on herb 2. mulatto color (1)

RED EYE : to want another persons belonging, envious. "You too red eye",

: meaning, you're too envious. (14)

RAHTID : expression of surprise, or to be enraged. From

biblical"wrothed" (7)

RENK : 1. foul-smelling, raw-smelling.

2. out of order, impudent, as in a rank-imposter.

"Yu too renk!". (5)

RHAATID : a curse-exclamation, similar to "what the hell" (6)

RHYGIN : adj. spirited, vigorous, lively, passionate with great

vitality and force; also sexually provocative and

aggressive. Probably a form of English raging. (7)

RIZZLA : brand of rolling paper. (3)

ROCKERS : reggae music (1) reggae music as it is played today,

the latest sound (2)

ROOTS : 1. derived from the experience of the common people,

natural indigenous

2. a greeting

3. name for a fellow Rasta (1)

ROTI : flat Indian pan breads. (5)

ROYAL, (RIAL) : n. offspring of some other race and black, ass in

"Chiney-Rial," "coolie-rial"; humorous as in

"monkey-rial" (7)

RUDE BOY : a criminal, a hard hearted person, a tough guy (6)

RUN-DUNG : food cooked in coconut juice, obtained after grating

the dry coconut meat and squeezing it in water,

thus extracting the coconut cream. (5)

RUNNING BELLY : diarrhea (12)

RYAL : royal. (5)


SAL'TING : 1. dishes cooked with saltfish or meat.

2. that part of the meal which is served with the "food"

(starchy food, ground food).

3. by some strange extension, the female organ, often

simply called "sal". (5)

SALT : adjective, broke, empty-handed, low on funds or food,

as in "tings salt" or "i' salt". (5)

SAMBO : the colour between brown and black; someone who is a

cross between a mullatto (brown) and a black. (5)

SAMFAI MAN : trickster, conman. (5)

SHAMPATA : n. sandal of wood or tire rubber. Span. zapato (7)

SANFI : A manipulator - dishonest person. A person that will sweet talk you

: out of love and money. "Dam Sanfi Bitch". (14)

SANKEY : n. religious song of a paticularly lugubrious tone,

sung in the long or common meter. From Ira David

Sankey, evangelist and hymnalist (7)

SATA : to rejoice, to meditate, to give thanks and praise. (5)

SATTA : sit, rest, meditate (1) relax (6)

(GO) SATTA : claim how spiritual you are (11)

SCIENCE : obeah, witchcraft (1)

SCIENTIST : occult practitioner (2)

SCOUT : denoting inferior status (6)

SCREECHIE : to sneak by (6)

SCREW : to scowl, to be angry (1)

SEEN : I understand, I agree (1)

SEEN? : Do you understand? (6)

SHAG : home-cured tobacco, straight from the field. (5)

SHAKE OUT : leave without haste, casually (2)

SHEG (UP) : verb, to bother, as in "all sheg up",

all hot and bothered, or or spoiled up (as of work). (5)

SHEG-UP : to be messed up, ruined (6)

SHEPHERD : n. leader of revivalist cult; also proprietor of

balmyard, healer and prophet (7)

SHOOB : to shove. (5)

SIDUNG : sit down (6)

SIGHT? : do you understand? (1)

SINKL-BIBLE : the aloevera plant. (5)

SINSEMILLA, SENSIE : popular, potent, seedless, unpollinated female strain

of marijuana (1)

SINTING : something. (5)

SIPPLE : slippery; slimy. (5)

SISTER, SISTREN : a woman, a friend, woman Rastafarians (1)

SITTIN' : something. (5)

SKANK : to dance to reggae music (1) to move with cunning,

ulterior motives (2)

SKIL : kiln, as in "limeskil". (5)

SKIN : rolling paper (1)

SKIN YOUR TEETH : smile (1)

SLABBA-SLABBA : big and fat, slobby, droopy. (5)

SLACKNESS : lewd, vulgar lyrics popular in DJ singing (4)

SMADI : somebody. (5)

SO-SO : only, solely, unaccompanied. (5) weak, pallid (6)

SOFT : not well done, amateurish; unable to cope (1)

broke, no money (2)

SPLIFF : large, cone-shaped marijuana cigarette (1)

SPRING : to sprout, as of yams or cocos, making them inedible.


STAR : common term of affection, camaraderie (1)

STEP : to leave, to depart (1) briskly, quickly (2)

STOOSH/STOSHUS : upper class, high tone, "hitey-titey". (5)

STRING UP : a muscial rehearsal (2)

STRUCTURE : body, health (1)

SU-SU : gossip, the sound of wispering. (5)

SUFFERER : a poor person stuggling to survive (2)

SUPM, SINTING : something (6)


TACK : bullet (2)

TACUMAH : n. character in Anancy tales. Said to be the son of

Anancy. Twin'ticuma (7)

TAKARI/TANKARI : stewed spicy pumpkin. (5)

TALL : long (1)

TALLOWAH : adj. sturdy, strong, fearless, physically capable.

From Ewe talala (7)

TAM : deep woolen hat, used by Dreads to cover their locks


TAMBRAN SWITCH : n. a flail made from the wiry branches of the Tamarind

tree, braided and oiled. Effective and much feared in

the hands of Babylon. (7)

TAN' : to stand; usually used in the sense of "to be".

"A so im tan", "that is what he is like";

"tan deh!" or "yu tan deh!" means "just you wait!".

"Tan tedy", stand steady, means "hold still". (5)

TARRA-WARRA : a polite way of expressing omitted bad words, a verbal

asterisk. (5)

TATA : n. father. Affectionate and respectful title for an old

man. Fram many african languages. Ewe, Ge, N'gombe (7)

TATU : a little thatched hut, often made of bamboo. (5)

TEETH : bullets (2)

TEIF : a theif, to steal (6)

TOTO : coconut cake. (5)

TOPANORIS : uptown snobby person. (10)

TRACE : to curse or speak abusively to someone. (5)

TRANSPORT : vehicle (1)

TUMPA : from stump, as in "tumpa-foot man", a one-foot man. (5)

TUNTI : female organ. (5)


UNO/UNU : you-all. (5) pron. you, plural. In usage close to

Afro-American y'awl. From Ibo unu, same meaning (7)

UPFUL : postitive, encouraging (2)

UPHILL : positive, righteous (1)

UPTOWN : the upper classes (1)


VEX : to get angry (1)


WA DAY : adverbial phrase, the other day. (5)

WA MEK? : why?

WAKL : wattle, a kind of woven bamboo work used to make house

walls. (5)

WANGA-GUT : hungry-belly. (5)

WARRA-WARRA : politely omitted bad words, same as "tarra-warra". (5)

WH'APPEN? : what's happening? (4)

WHATLEF : What's left over (7)

WHEELS : vehicle (6)

WHOLE HEAP : a lot (1)

WINE : "wine" appears in every West Indian dialect, and is

literally a corruption of "wind." It means to dance,

sometimes seductively. (17)

WINJY : thin and sickly looking. (5)

WIS : vine, liana, from withe. (5)

WOLF : a non-rasta deadlocks (2)

WOOD : penis. (5)


YA NO SEE IT? : you know? (1)

YA : hear, or here. (5)

YABBA : a big clay pot. (5)

YAGA YAGA : Dancehall slang. a way to big up a brethren; to express

a greeting or attract attention, i.e. yo! or yush!

true friend; bonafide; brethren. (9)

YAHSO : here (place) (6)

YAI : eye. (5)

YARD : home, one's gates (1) tenement (2)

YOUTH : a child, a young man, an immature man (1)


ZION : Ethiopia, Africa, the Rastafarian holy land (1)

ZUNGU PAN : zinc pan. (5)






"Me come yah fi drink milk, me no come yah fi count cow!"

(Deliver that which you promised, don't just talk about it!) (15)


"Carry Go Bring Come" (gossip) (12)


"A so im tan" (that is what he is like)

"tan deh!" or "yu tan deh!" (just you wait!)

"Tan tedy", stand steady, means "hold still". (5)


Bunks Mi Res (catch my rest, take a nap) (5)


"yu dam Lagga head bud" (stupid) (14)


"What sweet nanny goat a go run him belly" is a

cautionary Jamaican proverb which translated means:

What tastes good to a goat will ruin his belly. In

other words - the things that seem good to you now,

can hurt you later... (10)


"tek smadi mek poppy-show", which means to make fun of

someone or shame them, making them look ridiculous. (5)


"You too red eye" (meaning, you're too envious) (14)


Ya No See It? (you know?) (1)


"the gal come wine up on me," it would mean that the girl came and was

dancing up on me. (17)


"Chicken merry; hawk deh (is) near", it's a Jamaican

proverb which simply means, every silver lining has its dark cloud

Even in the happiest times one must still be watchful. (22)


"Fire de a Mus Mus tail, him tink a cool breeze". Set a Rat's tail

on fire and he's thinks there's a cool breeze. Used to describe

someone or something (the system for example) that is clueless. (4)

This characterizes the delusional complacency of the upper classes. (22)


"Me bleach hard lass night"

i partied straight through the night. (20)


"A promise is a comfort to a fool". (4)


"coo pon dat bwoy", "look at that boy" (17)


"I no come to hear about how horse dead an' cow fat"

It's like telling somebody to knock off with irrelevant details. (21)


"Me throw me corne but me no call no fowl"

It evokes the image of a farmer silently scattering who is

saying, in effect: "Don't call yourself a chicken just because you eat my

feed; I never said I was endeavoring to feed the chickens." That is, "You

are who you show yourself to be, not who you might say you are." (21)


"Sorry for maga dog, maga dog turn round bite you". This metaphor extends

very well to all manner and sort of do-gooding and should be considered before

any hasty acts of charity! (22)


"Mi throw mi corn, but me no call no fowl". refers to the conversational

technique of throwing out a provocative statement (throw corn) in an indirect

manner, thus forestalling any accusations of personal insult. (22)


"Sweet nanny goat have a running belly". It's a barnyard analogy akin to the

grass is always greener, but much coarser, noting that the sweet foliage avidly

sought out by the nanny goat gives it diarrhea (running belly). It's a blunt

way of warning someone off temptation. (22)


"cock mouth kill cock" really can't be expanded upon any further, nor can the

similar "If a fish coulda keep him mout' shut, him would neva get caught". (22)


"Everyting Crash". The topic is social chaos. Also, "come bad in de morning

can't come good a evenin'", and the even more pessimistic "every day bucket

go a well, one day di bucket bottom mus drop out". (22)


"Wanti wanti can't get it, getti getti no want it", i.e., the Have-nots covet

what the Haves take for granted. (22)


"Trouble no set like rain", that is, unlike bad weather, we are often not

warned by dark clouds on the horizon. (22)


Jamaican proverbs consistently counsel patience and forebearance, as in the

beautiful image "time longer than rope". The child must "creep before him

walk". And remember, "one one coco fill up a basket", take it easy and fill

up your shopping basket one item at a time. (22)


"Every mikkle makes a muckle", refers to thriftiness, similar to "a penny

saved is a penny earned". (22)


"No cup no broke, no coffee no dash wey". Even if disaster strikes your home it's always possible

that all may not be lost. (22)


"Heart No Leap", "See and Blind". These sayings are similar to "hear no evil,

see no evil". (22)


"mi come here fi drink milk, mi noh come here fi count cow". A remimder

to conduct business in a straightforward manner. (22)


"The higher the monkey climbs the more him expose". A truly comic image if

you've ever been to the zoo, and comforting to any of us whose backs have been

used as a stepping-stone for someone else's success. (22)


"A new broom sweeps clean, but an old broom knows every corner". A profoundly witty statement that sums up any

number of current situations, including the state of today's music. (22)


"dry land tourist". A Jamaican who's never been off the island but still

acts like a big shot. (10)


"no one cyaan test" . no one can sompete with. (24)


"Mi a-go lef today". "I am leaving today" (25)


"Im too hard of Aise". "He/She is too hard of ears" (25)


"Him is badda than dem" "No badda mi". "He is worse than they are" "Don't bother me" (25)


"Is bare dog down inna that yard". "Is only dogs in that yard" (25)


"No badda bawl im soon come back". "Don't bother crying he'll soon be back (25)


"Dat is fe mi bredda". "That is my brother" (25)


"The chuck need tree new tyres". "The truck will need three new tire" (25)


"Cuyah, she gwan like she nice eee". "Look at that, she acts like she is so nice" (25)


"Choble nuh nice" "Yuh ina big choble". "Trouble is not nice" "You are in big trouble" (25)


"Did yuh see dat?" "A who dat?" "Did you see that" "Who is that" (25)


" Yuh no dun yet?". "You have not finished yet?" (25)


" Is the dutty duppy man dweet". "The dirty ghost do it" (25)


"Ef yuh choble him 'im me a-go hit yuh". "If you trouble him I am going to hit you" (25)


"All a dem a me fambly". "All of them are my family" (25)


" Yuh too fass and Facety". "You are too inquisitive and fresh" (25)


"Galang bout yuh business". "Go along about you business" (25)


"Mi back a hat mi". "My back is hurting me" (25)


"An a jus Lass nite mi dideh". "And it was just last nigh I was there" (25)


"Lef mi Nuh". "Leave me alone." (25)


"Tek de neegle an sow de piece of clawt". "Take the needle and sow the piece of cloth" (25)


"How yuh nyam so much". "How do you eat so much." (25)


"Is Mr Garden pickney dem". "It is Mr. Gordon children." (25)


"Mi would rada you talk to mi"

Translation : "I would rather you not talk to me"


"Tandy tink sey im a-go help you." "Stand there thinking he is going to help you." (25)


"Tek you time an mine it bruk". "Take your time, you might break it." (25)


"Wat a liiv an bambaie" Leftovers put aside to eat tomorrow (What is left for

by-and by). (8)




Sources: 1. Reggae International, Stephen Davis, Peter Simon, R&B, 1982

2. KSBR 88.5 FM, Laguna Beach, CA. Handout.

3. posted on rec.music.reggae

4. Mike Pawka, Jammin Reggae Archives Maintainer

5. Understanding Jamaican Patois, L. Emilie Adams, Kingston

6. Richard Dennison/Michio Ogata

7. Glossary from "The Harder They Come" (Bo Peterson)

8. Norman Redington

9. The Beat

10. Allen Kaatz

11. Jah Bill (William Just)

12. Arlene Laing

13. Jennifer G. Graham

14. Norma Brown/Zoe Una Vella Veda

15. Richard V. Helmbrecht

16. Norman Stolzoff

17. Christopher Edmonds

18. Lisa Watson

19. Dr. Carolyn Cooper

20. Ras Adam

21. Chip Platt

22. Michael Turner from an article in "The Beat"

23. Nicky "Dread" Taylor

24. Simrete McLean

25. The Unofficial Web Site on Jamaica

26. Paul Mowatt