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Jamaica patois phrases and sayings

In this post, you will learn some Jamaica patois phrases and sayings that will make you smile, but most of all understand how the locals speak when you are traveling around Jamaica.


Jamaica is one of the most fascinating Caribbean islands. With a profound unique culture, spectacular beaches, an overwhelming nature, delicious food, it is really one of the most incredible places where you will want to spend at least 15 days.

I lived in Jamaica for 18 months and I loved every moment of my time there, especially when I bonded with locals. They have such a colorful and beautiful dialect that at the beginning makes you feel dumb because you don’t understand a word of it.

But once you get the hang of it and start to figure out the meaning of the words and phrases, you are one of them, and although you don’t have the courage to try and speak with the same accents and words, at least you understand what they are saying to you (or about you)

I loved talking to Jamaicans because of their accent and certain expression that they have. They used to crack me up and it’s probably one of the things about Jamaica that I miss the most.

They talk with such an emphasis and passion whatever they saying and they are very straightforward. Whatever they think, they give it a voice.  One time I met up with a friend, and as she looked at me she shouted out: “Wha’hm to you? How come you got so fat gial!?” (what happened to you? Why you are so fat)

I couldn’t help but burst out laughing instead of getting offended.

Besides it was true I had put on some weight in those days. They are just genuine and simple. You’ve got to love Jamaicans.

So here I have put together some words and expressions of common use that will help you to get by during your vacation. Of course, there are many more and if you know some please feel free to let me know in the comments below and I will be happy to add them.

In the meantime, if you are planning a trip to Jamaica, check out my thorough guides:

a floating device in wood on a river - Jamaica patois phrases

Jamaican Patois Phrases for greetings

Wahgwaan? = How are you?

Me Deh Yah = I ‘m here .. I am ok

Wha’m to you = literally is  “what happen to you” but it is also used as “how are you”

Irie=  Everything ok

Bless = Like blessings but used much more frequently when you say goodbye or hi.

One love = same use as blessings

Respect = it’s used after a conversation to confirm or agree with something or just as a sign of respect or goodwill towards somebody.

Me gaan= Literally ” I am gone” meaning, I am going, Off I go.

Weh yuh a deal with ? or Weh yuh up to? What are you doing, what are you up to.

waterfalls

Other funny things Jamaican Say

Me feel away = I feel weird

Me rate you = I respect you

Bomboclat –  You don’t have to use this, just know what it means in case you hear it and you will, I assure you . It’s an insulting exclamation, very much used instead of f**k – It’s not necessarily used towards somebody, but just to express a big surprise or disappointment towards an event as well. 

Pickney = kid

Gyal = girl

Them a bawl too much = they are crying to much!

A weh yuh a seh? = Really? is that so?

Small up yuhself = Make room

No sa! = No

Jamaican Proverbs

Rain a fall breeze a blow chicken batty out-a-door = The carefree are often unprepared for adversity

One coco full basket = a coconut at a time you fill-up the basket

Nuh hide yuh tick a lick a man= Do not hide your stick and hit someone. (Be honest from the beginning when dealing with someone)

If you wish to know more I have found this amazing site with a complete guide to Jamaican sayings.