There are many popular slangs in Nigeria. This is because Nigerian languages are replete and suffused with slangs, which have varieties of meaning. These slangs are acceptable for use in school, church, business environment and daily conversation. Typically, Nigerians relate with one another through the language of slangs. Foreigners may find it challenging to grasp the pronunciation or meaning of these popular Nigerian slangs, but worry not, we are here to help.
Why are slangs popular in Nigeria?
Here are the reasons why slangs are widely used through the length and breadth of the entire country.
The diversity of local languages
Most people believe Nigeria is home to only three languages — Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba. That is erroneous thinking. Nigeria has more than five hundred languages. As time goes on, these 500+ languages evolve to accommodate the lingua franca of Nigeria — English. Slangs emanate from native speakers of these Nigerian languages, whenever they intend to express themselves using a pervasive blend of English and their language. This combination is what gives rise to slangs. For instance, ‘JARA’ has its origin from the Yoruba language, and it means ‘more’ or ‘addition’. Other numerous slangs have root in other Nigerian languages, which we will analyse below.
To Evoke a Sense of Belonging
Slang is a communal instrument. It is used in Nigeria to create mutual understanding and a sense of communality. What better way to feel part of a place unless you speak their language? One way to get assimilated into the Nigerian way of life is to learn the Nigerian slang and understand it.
Nigerians are very emotional people. One reason why slangs are popular in Nigeria is that they can be used to express emotion — vent frustration, disapproval, displeasure, exhilaration and excitement. Sometimes, dictionary English does not have the potency to add power to an expression, like slangs.
Popular slangs in Nigeria and what they mean
Here are some of the most popular slang used in Nigeria today
Fashi am – Ignore it
Peche – Relax
Amebo – Gossiper
Woza – Loud slap
Guck – sleep, believe a lie
Gbe ja – Escape
Runs – Prostitution/ Harlotry
Baffs – Fine and expensive wears
To baff up – Be adorned in a costly and showy cloth
Bakassi/Ikebe – Butt or backside
ITK – Students that are too vested in academic activities. ITK stands for I Too Know
Aro – Interesting individual. (peculiar to OAU)
Akata – Foreigner or Caucasian
Jand – The United Kingdom
Yankee – The united states
Ajebutter – A spoiled child from a wealthy home.
Comot – Leave
Nack – Make contact with
Domot – Entrance/Vicinity
Kak – Have a sear
Kaka – Butt/Shite
Pam – Relax or have patience
Kele – A young maiden or a beautiful lady
E/Im – He/She/It
Am – Him/Her/It
Dem – Them/They
Troway – Something to be discarded/An item not needed
Mud – Die/Kill
Kpai – Die/Kill
Straff/Frap/Prak – Sexual intercourse
Hammer – Become prosperous
Awoof – Something gave for free
Wetin? – What?
Tey (tey tey) – Long time (ago)
Mugu/Maga/Maye – Fool
Fall hand – Disappoint
No dulling – Don’t prolong things
O’boy – friend
Abi – Right (as in “exactly, right?”)
Shey? – Is that right?
Like play like play – jokingly
Wozam slap – give him a slap
Eke don carry am – police have arrested him
Chop – eat
Wahalla – trouble
Sabi – to know
Waka – travel/go/walk away
Yahoo – Fraudster
419 – Another slang for fraud
Okada – Motorcycle
Black maria – prison van
Shugaba – Expulsion
Gbana – Indian hemp (could be a Lagos only slang)
Agidi – Strong headed
Aristo (shortened from Aristocrat) – Promiscuous lady who chases married men.
Bang – Depending on the context, fail or sleep with the opposite sex.
Bakassi – Girls behind (bum/butt)
Blend – Join a confraternity
Bone face – to snub somebody
Bounce – to walk stylishly to get noticed
Denge – to poise
To browse on the street – to look for girls/boys e.g. Omo I wan go browse
Brush – Beat
Butty (also: ajebota) – Spoiled brat / Pampered Child
Cable – Leak a secret
Cane – Sleep with a girl
Chips – Small papers with answers to exam questions an individual takes into the examination halls to cheat or commit exam malpractice. The smaller, the better (microchips)
Cassava Flakes: Dry Garri chips, compared with Corn Flakes
Church Members – Fellow Cultist e.g. Fryo na (is) my church member
Confra – Confraternity
Cow Bell – Large Boobs
Double silver – used by cultist to denote a gun
Fashi – Forget
FFF – Friend for food
FFO – For food only
Giddy – Smooch
Government Child (Omo-Ijoba) – A Corper (NYSC), A Mad Man
Joneser – Failure
Jack Robinson – Rubbish
Juve (shortened from juvenile) – Young ladies
Kawa – (I am going) – Leave
Kolo – Mad
Kposh or fa gbo or blaze – Smoke Weed
Smallie – Girlfriend or Girl
Soji – Street Smart
Tush – A refined person
Wetin Dey? What’s Up?
Wetin dey shele? What’s the latest gist?
Pepper don red – Person whose luck has changed and the person is more affluent.
You Fall my hand – you disappointed me
Dagbo or dub – copying someone’s work
Bust my skeroo – to blow one’s mind
Yan – talks, noisy discussions, or gist
Kolo – Crazy
Iyanga, Effizy or Shakara – proud feeling, boisterous or pompous
Fabu – Lie
Gbege – Trouble
Demor – a show-off, act up, pretend to be something one is not
The shenkiz dem just dey matrix – the girls are stripping
Jones – lack intellect, not being smart in a certain situation
Shak up or Shayo – get drunk or a drunk
To Jack – to study hard, a popular Nigerian students’ slang
Aproko – a gossip
Sort – bribe
To crash – to sleep