12 Favorite Jamaican slangs of all time

Pop style
pop style show off jamaican

To show-off usually in the presence of haters.

Kill me dead

A form of swearing used to show that one is speaking the truth or mean exactly what they say.


Initiated by Rastafarians in a time when the group was vilified by the general society. Once used to reference to any agent of the state but mostly code for police.

Hol it dung

Keep this a secret between us.

Joe Grind

This reference to the Jamaican version of a gigolo never gets old. He prefers women who are married or in a committed relationship.


This one has stood the test of time. The Aussies see matey as a friend but in Jamaica, this is a woman who steals your man. The man may have offered himself up to be “stolen” but it’s matey who gets all the blame and has served as fodder for many dancehall songwriters over the years.

About the Author
Denise Clarke is a freelance journalist based in Kingston, Jamaica. She has written for print and online newspapers in Jamaica, Barbados, and the British Virgin Islands. Email her with feedback at [email protected].

About the author

Denise Clarke