Popular Nigerian Slangs

Nigeria is a linguistically diverse country, with about 529 languages said to have been spoken, though some of these languages are extinct. Though the official language is English but many people speak their own language.

Slangs are very common among different age groups in Nigeria and many of these slangs are borrowed from the indigenous languages or even from Pidgin English. Some of this slang make it to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Many of the Nigerian slangs are thought to have originated from the streets and mostly borrowed from the Yoruba language. We take a look at 50 Nigerian slangs.

AjebutterA privileged child or a child from a rich home, living in expensive part of town. Translated ‘’one who eats butter’’.

AjepakoThe opposite of Ajebutter,  a person who had a difficult start in life. From a poor or difficult background

AmeboA Gossiper or an idle talker

Aza This means bank account number. Send your aza means send your bank account number

Baff upTo dress up or dress in designer clothing

Bone that thing– To overlook or forget about something.

Cut soap for me This means to show how someone became successful. It is like ‘’Please show      me the secret of your success.

DanfoThe yellow buses used for transportation in Lagos. This is recently added to the oxford English dictionary

 DorimeThis is from ‘’Ameno’’ the song. It is used when people spend large especially at bars or clubs

E choke- This was made popular by Davido. It means to be surprised at an impressive act

E shock you- This also is like ‘’e choke’’ it means  it’s surprising or it could be a question meaning depending on the tone ’’Are you surprised’’?

 Gbam/Gbamsolutely- is used when someone agrees with a statement. Some people use gbamsolutely also derived from absolutely 

Gbas gbos- It could mean a fight or exchange of abusive words or a chaotic situation

Gbege– This means trouble. ‘’Gbege don happen’’ 

God when- It means when will it be my turn? It’s sort of a prayer. Let’s say a lady hears the news her friend is getting married she could say ‘’Eh God when’’?

I go change am for you: This is a warning you give to someone, especially one that doesn’t take you seriously.

If you don’t gerrit forget abourrit: This is used when you don’t understand an explanation quickly enough or when you don’t understand what the speaker feels you should understand.

Inside Life- Is used to describe things one does not believe is happening but yet taking place, incredible or unbelievable stuff

Japa/Ja danu- This means to escape from a difficult situation or to travel abroad. It’s a Yoruba word that means ‘’to run’’ 

Jara- This means extra. Especially to demand for extra for certain types of goods bought in the marketplace

K-Leg- It is used when a situation takes a turn for the worse. It is recently added to the Oxford English dictionary

Lepa– A very slim sexy lady

Lori iro-. It is used when somebody is telling lies. You can say ‘’lori iro or fabu’’when someone is saying things you believe to be lies

Ma fo-This was made popular by Naira Marley and it means ‘’Don’t break’’, don’t give up, be strong, don’t be intimidated or oppressed. 

Mad o- This is also used to describe something incredible or surprising

Marlian-Followers of popular Nigerian musician called Naira Marley

Ment/Kolo-  It is used to describe someone who has mental issues or behaves in an unstable way.

Mumu/Maga/Mugu-This could refer to a person who has been scammed or someone who does foolish things. It is assumed that you must be dumb to be scammed.

NaijaThis means Nigeria and it could also be written as 9ja

No be juju be dat?- This is used when somebody does stupid or unexpected things that suggest they could have been bewitched. It is a question.

No wahala- This means no problem.

Nothing spoil/Nothing dey happen- It means a situation is fine and under control

Oga at the top: The big boss. This was made popular by an NSCDC official during an interview.

OPP/OPG- These two have the same meaning ‘’o po pa’’ ‘’o po gan’’. This means it’s much, it’s impressive, it’s beautiful. It can be used to describe a situation or a person

Orobo-The opposite of Lepa, but can be used for both male and female to mean someone is fat

Owanbe-  ‘It’s happening there’ means party. The type of party where a band is playing and people spraying money.

Pepper dem– To oppress, intimidate or annoy someone

Pepper/Ego/Kudi: Money

Roforofo- This is a very dirty or messy fight. It could mean free for all fight as well

Sapa- is used to describe the financial situation of a person who is broke. You hear something like ‘’Sapa hold me’’ means am broke.

Serve breakfast-Used to describe heartbreak and the notion that everybody’s heart will be broken at some point

Shayo-To get drunk

Soro soke-This is derived from the Yoruba word meaning to speak up. It was made popular during the ENDSARS protest. Don’t be quiet

To blow-To enjoy success at an endeavor especially used in the entertainment industry to mean the success of an album or an event

We meeuve – This became popular after the ENDSARS protest. It means ‘’not deterred’’; we are progressing or moving to the next phase

Yahoo – This is used to describe internet fraudsters

Yahoo plus –Used to describe people who combine internet fraud with rituals

Yawa – This means trouble

You fall my hand- meaning you disappointed me.

You want to bamba: To join the league of big boys, normally big spenders, or to keep up with the Joneses

image credit: google

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