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20 Jamaican Patois words that originated from Nigeria

The Igbo people of Nigeria, Akan people of Ghana, and other African cultures influenced Jamaican cultures due to the influx of slaves from those regions during slave trade. Here are some Patois words that have Nigerian origins. Jamaican Patois is a colourful mix of several languages passed down from our colonial past and Igbo, Efik and Yoruba ancestors. Here are a few. 1. Akara This derived from the Yoruba àkàrà, and points to a type of street food — bean cakes. 2. Attoo This derived from the Igbo átú, meaning “chewing stick” 3. Big-eye “Big Eye” is derived directly from the Igbo “anya ukwu”, meaning “greedy” 4. Breechee This is from mbùríchì, meaning an Nri-Igbo nobleman 5. Buckra This is an Efik term from mbakára, meaning “white man” 6. Chink, Chinch This is from the Igbo chị́nchị̀, meaning “bedbug” 7. Country ibo from Ị̀gbò, Pluchea odorata or Ptisana purpurascens 8. De, Deh This is derived from the Igbo dị, [with adverbial] meaning “is” (to be) 9. Door-mouth This is a claque from ọ́nụ́ ụ́zọ̀ (mouth + door), meaning “doorway” 10. Hard-head This is from Igbo ísí íké, (head + hard, strength), meaning “obstinate” 11. Himba This is from Igbo mba, “yam root”, a type of yam, Rajania cordata 12. Kaba-kaba is derived from Yoruba (and Akan, Ewe) and means ‘unreliable, inferior, worthless’ 13. Mumu means “dumb”, but is derived from Yoruba (and Ewe) where it means ‘slow in the head’ 14. Obeah from Igbo ọbiạ, meaning “doctoring”, “mysticism” 15. Okra This is from the Igbo ọkwurụ, a vegetable 16. Poto-poto This is from the Yoruba “opoto-opoto”, mkpọtọ-mkpọtọ, meaning “mud”, “muddy” 17. Red Ibo, Eboe from Ị̀gbò, a person with a light skin colour or a mulatto of mixed parentage 18. Se This is from the Igbo sị, which usually follows with a quote. Also from Akan se and English say 19. Soso This is from the Igbo sọsọ meaning “only” 20. Unu from Igbo language únù, meaning “you (plural)”

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About Don Gor'gon

Rasta Routes Cultural Ambassador’s mission is to develop & enhance the worldwide image of Jamaica as a Cultural Immersion & Backpacker Tourism destination!


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