Blend into the Jamaican Crowd with These Useful Patois Expressions

If you plan to visit Jamaica soon, you might be wondering how best you can fit into a conversation without being singled out as a ‘foreigner”. You might want to be able to understand what is being said around you, or to even communicate comfortably with a local. Have you considered learning some Jamaican Patois expressions? It’s the secret sauce to fitting right in and having an unforgettable experience. With this list of popular Jamaican phrases you’ll be chatting away like a resident in no time, and your Jamaican friends will appreciate the effort you’re putting in to connect with them.

For your next visit, here are some useful phrases and sentences to help you have a memorable one!

Big man ting

This directly translates to a “grown-up matter”. You would use this expression in Jamaica, just before you spill the facts about a serious topic.  Americans would possibly say “on god” or “for real” or “no cap”. Also,  “on a levels” is another Patois expression that could be used in this context.

Yeh mon!

This popular Patois expression is translated as  “okay” or “no problem”.

Mai yute

Americans say “bro” and British people say “bruv”, while Jamaicans say “mai yute”.

This is the Patois spelling of “my youth”.  Similarly to “Bro”, this expression is most commonly used to refer to men but can be used to refer to women as well.

“Yute dem” is the plural form, which is synonymous to Americans saying “guys”.

Weh yuh a seh?

This translates to “what are you saying?” and has two meanings.   It doubles as a greeting; similar to “wah gwaan”  or “what is happening”, and an exclamation of surprise similar to  “are you joking/kidding?”


If your Jamaican friend says “fahwud”. It’s a command to get going,  translates to “forward” or “come here”. In Jamaican Patois, the past tense of “fahwud” is “did fahwud” which means “came here”.

Duh Road (Let’s explore!)

If someone should let you know that they are about to ‘ duh road’ translated to English as ‘do road, ’ in most cases they are about to leave their present location to do something fun. In some cases, they are indicating that they are about to do something productive.

Me soon come (I’ll be there soon)

There is a very subtly warning associated with being told this expression. Jamaican time appears to be much slower than other countries and soon is very relative and may be anytime between immediately to a few days well.

Nah aks chrise (I’m sure)

When you’re absolutely certain about something, say “nah aks chrise.” It’s basically saying, “I’m so confident, even Jesus wouldn’t doubt me!”

There you have it! You’re now armed with the best of Jamaican lingo. Feel free to color your speech with these popular Patois expressions and may your trip to Jamaica be unforgettable.

Photo – Deposit Photos