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Top 50 most popular Yoruba slang words

Top 50 most popular Yoruba slang words

This blog post aims to introduce you to 50 slang words used in the Yoruba language. Few of these slang words are English but have different connotations in Yoruba lingo. Few other words are from pidgin English but I have included them here to create a comprehensive list because they are all part of the Yoruba lingo.

The Yoruba people, predominantly from Nigeria, Benin, and Togo, have a rich linguistic tapestry woven with slang, proverbs, and idiomatic expressions. The Yoruba language is a melting pot that accommodates a range of experiences and perspectives. Slang words in Yoruba have become a significant part of everyday communication, not just among the youth but also among older generations.

Below is a list of top 50 most popular Yoruba slang words

  •     Ginger: To hype or energize.
  •     Jara: An extra or bonus.
  •     Ajé: Witch/Wizard.
  •     Omo: Literally means "child," but can be used colloquially to mean "person."
  •     Gbe Body E: A phrase that encourages someone to move quickly or take action.
  •     Paro: To pretend or act.
  •     Wayo: Deception or trickery.
  •     Shenk: To ditch or ignore someone.
  •     Jasi: To act in a cunning or mischievous manner.
  •     Eyan: Human being or person.

Financially related Yoruba slang words

  •     Owo: Money.
  •     Bar: To have money.
  •     Pepper dem: To show off wealth or success.
  •     Raba: Money or cash.
  •     Sever: Pay; usually used to ask someone to pay up.

Relationships and Social Interactions

  •     Toasting: Flirting or trying to woo someone.
  •     Demo: To show off.
  •     Faaji: Enjoyment or fun.
  •     Gbege: Trouble or problem.
  •     Shakara: To show off or act arrogantly.
  •     Sisi: A stylish or fashionable woman.
  •     Chairman: A term used to refer to a man in a position of authority or respect.
  •     Wahala: Trouble or problems.

Expressions of Feelings

  •     Yimu: An expression to show disbelief or skepticism.
  •     Ajebo: Someone who is posh or acts sophisticated.
  •     Abi: Isn't it? A rhetorical question asking for agreement.
  •     Gbadun: To enjoy or like something.
  •     Gbosa: An exclamation to celebrate a victory or achievement.

Most Popular Food and Drink Related Yoruba Slang Words

  •     Onga: Seasoning or spices.
  •     Ewa: Beans.
  •     Buka: A local food joint or restaurant.
  •     Suya: Grilled spicy meat.
  •     Mama Put: Street food vendor.

Other popular Yoruba slang words you should know

  •     Jollof: Refers to Jollof rice, a popular West African dish.
  •     Runz: A clandestine or secretive operation.
  •     Levels: Rank or social standing.
  •     Olosho: A derogatory term for a prostitute.
  •     How Far?: A casual greeting similar to "What’s up?"
  •     Baba: A term of respect for an older man or a person of authority.
  •     Padi: Friend or buddy.
  •     K-leg: Something is wrong or amiss.
  •     No Wahala: No problem.
  •     Lamba: Lies or exaggerated stories.
  •     Chop: To eat or spend money.
  •     Zobo: A popular Nigerian drink made from dried roselle plant flowers.
  •     Magas: Targets or potential victims of a scam.
  •     Shayo: Alcohol or liquor.
  •     E go be: It will be fine.
  •     Chook: To pierce or stab.
  •     Nack: To give or to hit.

Understanding these slang terms not only gives you a deeper insight into the vibrant culture of the Yoruba people but also enhances your experience interacting with Yoruba-speaking individuals. Language, particularly slang, serves as a mirror reflecting the values, humor, and ingenuity of a community. So the next time you find yourself among Yoruba speakers, throwing in a word or two from this list might just make you the life of the party!


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