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Keepin' it Real - Local Lingo

Though English is spoken on many Caribbean islands, the word on the street is often a heady mix of French, English, Spanish, Dutch and African languages resulting in a colourful dialect that reveals the region's rich heritage and history but leaves visitors at a loss for words.

Here are a few choice phrases to help decipher the indecipherable, so that when you are asked, “Wa gwan?” You can reply, “All tings criss.” Just like a local.


Translation: What is going on?

All tings criss!

Translation: All good.

Who ya fuh?

Translation: Who are your parents?

Trouble don blow shell.

Translation: Bad things happen without warning.

Ya fool as fly.

Translation: You have no common sense.

Greedy choke puppy.

Translation: Do not bite off more than you can chew.

Di higher monkey climb, more ‘im botty expose.

Translation: The higher one climbs in society, the more vulnerabilities are exposed.

Too cool to pop.

Translation: Life is good.

We be limin’.

Translation: We are hanging out, relaxing. (Trinidad & Tobago and USVI)

Don know beef from bullfoot.

Translation: S/he is completely ignorant.

Kiss me neck!

Translation: Wow! (Jamaica).

Dem two is chamber-pot and backside.

Translation: They are very close friends.

Every hallelujah got amen.

Translation: Every good thing comes to an end.

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