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12 Favorite Jamaican slangs of all time

12 Favorite Jamaican slangs of all time
Written by Denise Clarke

12 Favorite Jamaican slangs of all time

Every now and then, a catchy slang makes it into the Jamaican language usually spreading in popularity through reggae and dancehall songs. While some may be familiar with the more recent ‘nobody canna cross it’ and ‘A yah so nice’ here are a few Jamaican slangs which were much more than a passing fad. Some like ‘skettel’ and ‘Joe Grind’ are more than 20 years old.

Wat a stress!

For a while in late 90s to early 2000s this was a very popular slang often used to express alarm at a shocking or peculiar situation. The phrase was sometimes joined with “inna me lef breast” to add the drama that only a Jamaican can bring.

Seen!

Decades old, this one keeps evolving. Yuh simme, yuh zeet, yuh seet are similar versions all used during a conversation to show that you fully understand what is being said.

Run a boat

To cook a meal usually with friends who pool together to buy the ingredients.

Skettel

Initially a loose woman; now used to describe low class women and men, and things of inferior quality.

Maama man

Usually refers to an effeminate male especially one who does household chores.

More fyah

A phrase made popular in the 90s by dancehall artiste Capleton that’s still going strong today. Refers to the hell fire that the Rastas say will burn anyone involved in “unclean or immoral acts.”

About the author

Denise Clarke