My online friend just visited Nigeria and I told her “be ready for slangs that will leave her confused”. Not to worry, we have carefully scouted out popular Nigerian slangs for you; read on.
Nigeria; the pride of Africa is a unique country that leaves even people who are not citizens in awe. Nigerians are unique in so many ways, and their responses to events are not left behind, that’s where the slang comes in.
Even though English remains the official language amidst the over four hundred languages in Nigeria, pidgin, which is a derivative of English language has been in great use in the streets of Nigeria.
Popular Nigerian Slangs For You
These slangs spring up from music or careless statements made on the street, some folks pick them up immediately, and within a twinkling of an eye, it begins to trend, and by so doing, it comes to stay as an accepted slang. Let’s see them.
1. Mad Oh!
This is one of the most popular slang in Nigeria that has made way into the Urban Dictionary. It has its origin from the streets of Lagos, and it is an expression made when something unbelievable occurs or is said.
E.g., Guy: You are too beautiful to come from this planet.
Babe: Mad Oh!
This Nigerian Slangs word is used to refer to a person who likes to gossip or likes to spread gossip. For example, ‘you too like amebo’ means ‘you love gossip’, whereas ‘she’s an amebo’ means ‘she’s a gossip’.
E.g., Amebo, you talk too much.
3. Control(Ctrl) P
A recent slang in the Nigerian slang lexicon, ‘control P’ is a term used when someone is taking a situation too personal. E.g., ‘na control P dey worry this babe o’
4. Fall Hands
This slang is used when someone is disappointed by a person, an event, or something.
E.g.; ‘this man don fall my hand.’
This is an action word which means to punch or slap but, it can also be used to refer to the sound made when someone or something is being punched.
E.g.; ‘as the guy slaps her him babe, the gbosa sound well well.’
This slang means to study or revise effectively.
E.g.; ‘Omo, make I go jack for exams abeg.’
7. Parte After Parte
Nigerians have fully adopted this expression from Uganda rap music. It’s being used to describe any party or fun gatherings that precedes an already existed one.
E.g., After celebrating my birthday with friends in school, I came home and met another party, this one is parte after parte.
8. Gbe Body E
Even the Danfo Bus conductor screams this one when a bus or person is blocking the way. It’s a term meaning ‘Lift or carry your body’, either on the dance floor or out of the way.
E.g., Agbani gbe body e
9. Ji Ma Sun
Means’ wake up, don’t sleep’. It can also mean ‘Don’t dull’. It is used on the streets asking people to be awake and remain streetwise.
E.g., Time won’t wait for you oo, make money now, ji ma sun.
This word is an abbreviation of the Yoruba name Adesoji, which means ‘the crown is revived’. However, when used in everyday vernacular, it means to be knowledgeable about something or street smart.
E.g.; ‘Lydia too soji’ means ‘she’s very smart’.
Jara is derived from the Yoruba language, and it means to add extra or give a freebie after something has already been bought or paid for. For example, when serving a dish at a restaurant, customers can usually be found asking for ‘jara’, at which point the seller might add an extra piece of meat or scoop of rice at his or her discretion.
E.g., Madam put jara for my garri abeg
This means to go crazy or mad. This can mean literally or metaphorically depending on the context.
E.g., This guy don kolo oo, why him dey ask me for money?
This is a term used to describe someone regarded as a fool or someone who is very gullible or being conned.
E.g; ‘this maga promise me three hundred thousand Naira’,
This Nigerian Slangs is mostly used by younger people, as it’s usually in a playful yet insulting manner. It means to make fun of someone.Nigerian SlangsThis slang is mostly used by younger people, as it’s usually in a playful yet insulting manner. It means to make fun of someone.
E.g.; ‘she finds pleasure in yabbing people’
‘Oshe’ typically means ‘thank you’ in Yoruba. But this slang goes beyond that. When a remarkable thing occurs or is said, somebody shouts ‘Oshe!’.
E.g.; ‘I’ve seen the credit alert, oshe sir.’
16. Dundee United
This is a playful but offensive way of calling someone a fool.
E.g.; ‘guy be better Dundee united.’
A standard linguistic feature in Nigerian English is nouns being turned into verbs. For instance, when one feels abdominal pain, they may express this as “my stomach is paining me.” The use of a car’s horn to produce a sound, therefore, becomes “horning” in Nigeria. This is a distortion of the verb for blaring the horn of a car which is “honking”.
E.g.; ‘the driver has been horning at the hawker for a while now, but he didn’t hear.’
This is far from what you think, “hammers” is used when someone wants to say they’ve made it, blown up, gotten rich, or hit the jackpot. It’s the act of coming into a considerable amount of money—legally or illegally.
E.g.; ‘Mama I go blow for this life, I buy you moto’
“Trafficate” is a Nigerian exclusive that particularly bewilders non-Nigerian English speakers. This mystifying word refers to using the turn signal when driving, and it stands in for “indicate.
E.g., make sure you trafficate when you want to pull over on a high way.
Simply used when referring to financial help, the money in question is not meant to be returned.
E.g.; ‘Come let me dash you money.’
This Nigerian Slangs simply means to eat.
E.g.; ‘come chop rice.’
This is a well-known term for social media fraudsters.
E.g.; ‘This yahoo boy on my Facebook friends list thinks he can scam me.’
In Nigeria, this term is used to refer to people from a very wealthy home; like the ‘spoilt brats’ who are well off or brought up with a silver spoon. It can also be simply termed ‘butter’ for short.
E.g., Ajebutter please shift for ajekpako to pass.
To “form” means showing off or putting on a proud air to impress. When someone tells you to “stop forming” what your conversation counterpart is actually saying is that you ought to show some humility or stop pretending to be something you’re not.
E.g.; ‘no dey form like say na your papa be Dangote’
25. How far?
Visitors in Nigeria will hear this one a lot, and it’s an informal way of saying “how are you?” and “what’s up?” or “how is everything?” or even “hi” or “hello.”
26. Inside Life
It started with self-acclaimed Marlians and stuck. It is the reality of things. When there is a remarkable secret that can’t be explained, someone says ‘Inside life’.
E.g.; ‘she is making out with her best friend’s father, inside life.’
This slang started as a dance just like gbe body e and, stuck as a slang. It means ‘Lift your leg.’ Suppose they want to say dance; gbese. If they want you out of the way; gbese.
E.g.; ‘Gbese for daddy.’
28. Gbas Gbos
This slang is used when there is a war of words between two or more persons. ‘They both went gbas gbos at each other.
It is also used when someone makes a blunder when speaking English.
E.g.; ‘You don’t want to hear Oluchi speak English, the gbas gbos is too much.’
This Nigerian Slangs is used when a speech is made, or a cliché is spoken, you hear the word ‘gbam’, meaning that they agree with the speaker.
It is an affirmation of a word spoken, and it is synonymous to others like ‘Rhema, Ride-on Pastor’, etc.
E.g., Preacher: It is unfair to serve God because of what we stand to gain. Response from someone in the congregation: gbam!
You don’t just say it, you scream it. It has been in vogue for a long time now, but the Warri folks are not ready to let it fade just yet. It is used to identify a fellow person who lived in the streets of Warri.
E.g., Call: Warri Response: ‘Street!’
31. No Wahala
No wahala is a trendy Nigerian (Naija) popular slang that is used to refer to ‘no worries’ or ‘no problem’
e.g ; ‘I am broke and peniless, but no wahala I will survive’
Wetin is popular Naija slang that means ‘what?’. For instance in the Nigerian streets, someone might ask you ‘wetin you talk?’, it translates to ‘what did you say?’
33. Pepper don rest
‘Pepper don rest’ is a popular Naija slang that means ‘money has come’ or ‘I now have so much money’. In this slang ‘pepper’ refers to money.
e.g, ‘I have just been paid for the month pepper don rest o’
Drop is a Nigerian slang which mean either to ‘charter or hire a taxi or tricycle’ or to ‘get off a vehicle or tricycle or any means of transportation’.
e.g, ‘Driver I want to drop at this bus station’.
35. I go change am for you
Change, as a Nigerian street slangs, differs from the dictionary description used commonly in formal settings. ‘I go change am for you’ is a phrase used by speakers to warn the hearer (S) to exercise caution and not to make them angry or face the consequences.
e.g, ‘Don’t annoy me or i go change am for you’
36. Comot for road
This popular slang means move away from the way or steer clear of my lane.
e.g, ‘comot for road o so the bike won’t knock you down’
37. Dem no born you reach
This slang is used to threaten someone. It is a way of daring the listener.
e.g, ‘you want to bully my child dem no born you reach’.
38. Bone that thing
This slang simply means forget or ignore whatever your plan is.
e.g, ‘you wan’t to travel to New York without visa, it’s not possible bone that thing’.
39. Baff up
This slang is used to describe the way someone is flamboyantly dressed. When someone askes you to ‘baff up’, the person means you should look good.
e.g, ‘We are going to party tommorow, make sure you baff up’
This slang is synonymous to ‘trouble’
e.g, ‘There is too much gbege in this place’
41. Na me be dis?
This slang can be translated to ‘Is this really happening to me?’
e.g, ‘I just won a million Naira Na me be dis?’
42. How body?
This slang simply means ‘how are you?’
43. Pour sand sand for my garri
This slang means spoil someone’s show or burst someone’s bubble.
e.g ‘ no come pour sand sand for my garri o’
44. You don kolo
This Nigerian Slangs may translate to ‘you have gone haywire or crazy’