20 Jamaican Patois Words That Originated From Nigeria

After the abolishing of the Atlantic Slave Trade, many slaves that were from Africa were left to live in the island plantations they worked on.

Some of these lands later evolved into countries such as Jamaica.

Many of them were from different African countries and thus communication was a bit of a challenge since education was restricted.


So they came up with their own language which is now popularly known as Patois. A fusion of bits of different languages including English. So you’re likely to come across some words in patois that can be found in many African languages like Efik, Igbo, and Yoruba here in Nigeria.

Well! Let’s find out how true this assertion is.

1. akara

from àkàrà, type of food,

2. attoo

from átú, “chewing stick”

3. big-eye

“big eye” from Igbo “anya ukwu”, “greedy”

4. breechee

from mbùríchì, an Nri-Igbo nobleman

5. door-mouth

claque from ọ́nụ́ ụ́zọ̀ (mouth + door), ‘doorway’

6. chink, chinch

from chị́nchị̀, ‘bedbug’

7. country ibo

from Ị̀gbò, Pluchea odorata or Ptisana purpurascens

8. de, deh

from dị, [with adverbial] “is” (to be)

9. hard-head

from ísí íké, (head + hard, strength), ‘obstinate

10. himba

from mba, “yam root”, a type of yam, Rajania cordata

11. obeah

from ọbiạ, “doctoring”, “mysticism”

12. okra

from ọkwurụ, a vegetable

13. poto-poto

from “opoto-opoto”, mkpọtọ-mkpọtọ, “mud”, “muddy”,

14. red Ibo, Eboe

from Ị̀gbò, a person with a light skin colour or a mulatto of mixed parentage

15. se

from sị, “quote follows”, also from Akan se and English say


16. soso

from sọsọ “only”

17. unu

from únù, “you (plural)”



19. kaba-kaba

‘unreliable, inferior, worthless’

20. buckra

from mbakára, “white man


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