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Basic pidgin English words to get you started

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Pidgin is at the height of its game right now. A language considered as low class is making waves mehn.

Words like mehn and mbok – technically of Ibibio language that has transitioned – are trending on social media.

Commenters are now expressing themselves on Nigerian news platforms online with pidgin like never before, because e dey sweet for body. Even the BBC launched their own pidgin corner on the web.

To tell you this language is becoming the biz-nits is an understatement, but here are some basics to keep you up to speed with pidgin English speaker.

When observing each pidgin word/English meaning, bear in mind that the tone of some words depend on the context is being used, besides many have came from tribal slangs that have become wide spread.

Make dem hear: let them hear
Kukuma: might as well
Tori: Story
Abi o: isn’t it o
Mugu/mumu: fool/stupid
Kukuma: might as well
Pikin: child
Bar: money
Mtcheew: expression for ‘kissing my teeth’
Ashawo: prostitute
Oloshi: foolish (Yoruba)
Una Welcome: you are all welcome
Agbaya: shameless/bad elder
Oyinbo/Oyibo: white person or people
Yanga/form: showoff/carry oneself in high esteem Sha: though
Gra-gra: aggresive/stubborn
How far: whatsup
Yeye: useless
Kpatakpata: completely/totally
Commot/Vamoose/jump/clear – leave
Wahala: trouble
Wétin be dis: what is this
You no dey hear word: you don’t listen
We dey gidigba: we are here big/standing strong/firm
Gbam!: expression for ‘enough said’ ‘hit the nail on the head’ ‘case closed’
Gbosa: expression of hurray/hail
Yankee: USA
Jand: UK
Werey: mad, crazy (Yoruba)

Words that are context-dependent

Na dem sabi: They are the ones can do it or it’s them that know (for stubborn people who refuse to listen)

Dem go hear: They will hear/will they listen?

Na wa o: an expression for ‘shock’, throwing shade, pity

Wétin dey: What is there Interchangeable with ‘how far’

May thunder fire you: cursing/swearing at a person can used as a light or serious joke

Amadioha fire you: God of thunder/lightning (Igbo) fire you (curse)

Correct guy: good guy, praise slang if someone says the right things (based on personal perception)/general hailing

Eyah: pitiful expression

Celebrities that have added to pidgin dictionary

Oshey Baddest: coined by Bob Risky as his nickname, ‘Oshey’ hypes the word ‘baddest’ in this context. Another word ‘Oshe’ means thank you.

OmoSexy: associated with Nollywood actress, Omotala Jalade Ekeinde. Omo means child, sexy – well she is curvaceous, looks good after four children and youthful hence – omosexy (sexychild)

Missed any out or want to add more? Tell us in the comment section

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