Jamaican Patois or Jamaican Creole, more popularly called Patois (Patwah / Patwa) is spoken as a native language by the majority of Jamaicans. Influenced by other languages including English and the languages from West African, Patois has adapted over time. With generational changes come new phrases or slangs, making it a fun and interesting way of communicating.
Here are a few Patois phrases you should be using while communicating with a Jamaican or even to help you communicate better with a Jamaican:
- Daadie / Mi Dawg – an expression usually used by males talking to each other as a way of greeting or addressing each other
- Link – refers to a group of close friends
- Hol a Medz – this phrase is often used as a calming tactic and simply means that the person should relax, or meditate on what was said or done.
- Do road / deh pon a ends – to go out or go on an outing
- Goodaz – a reference to a sexy woman/girl
- Maad / Slap weh– an expression towards something being awesome
- Loud up di ting – to reveal another person’s business
- Do yu ting – the literal translation is “do your thing” and the meaning is “go ahead”; this is a very popular approval phrase.
- A mi fi tell yu! – This phrase is generally used when a person is in agreement with something they were told and translates to two simple words “that’s right”!
- Babylon – is a termed used in reference to police officers
- A so di ting set – this is the situation at hand, this is just the way things are
- A dat wid you – often used just before pointing out a person’s bad, the phrase literally means “that’s the problem with you”.
- A yasso nice! – this expression was taken directly from a dancehall song and used to indicate that a person is having a good time whether in a conversation or in a party.
- Drop out – in Jamaican Patois means to die. So you may hear someone say “Rickie drop out last nite enuh” – it means Rickie died last night.
- Flassing – “big spending”, especially at events and relating buying lots and lots of liquor for the crew
- Cheddar – is just another expression for “money”, example “affi mek di cheddar” meaning “I have to make the money”
- Frass – is used in reference to someone seemingly slightly drunk (tipsy) or exhausted (frazzled)
- Gyalis – simple put, a player! Gyalis is often used in reference to a promiscuous guy who either has many women or loves women and often viewed as a badge of honour among Jamaican men.
- Inna di morrows – this is a very common goodbye phrase and means “see you tomorrow” or “see you in the morning”
- Mi a forward – this common phrase is a response to somebody being called and means “I’m coming”
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