Your trusted street dictionary.
Pronunciations here are not according to oral English. Learn it street style. How it sounds is how it would be spelled.
9-5 /nine-to-five/: The time frame an average person in the corporate environment is expected to work. Work starts by 9am and closes by 5pm.
How it is Used: “I work 9-5.” “9-5 for Lagos no be joke.”
Abeg /ah-beg/: Please.
How it is Used:”Abeg, give me my change.” “Abeg, abeg, no take sand sand spoil my garri.”
Agbero /ah-gbe-ro/: A tout. They have a deep voice and can cause trouble. (syn. tout)
How it is Used: “The agbero stopped the driver.” “Agbero boys no get respect.”
Ashawo /ah-sha-woe/: A prostitute.
How it is Used: “The girl is an ashawo.” “Ashawo no be work o.”
Ashewo /ah-sheh-woe/: Same as ashawo. A prostitute.
How it is Used: “The girl is an ashewo.” “Ashewo no be work o.”
Baba /ba-ba/: A word used to refer to an elderly man (sometimes God). (syn. Papa)
2. A slang of jest appraisal. (syn. Chairman, Boss, Oga)
3. Short form of Babalawo. (syn. native doctor, medicine man)
How it is Used: “Good morning, Baba.” “Baba was just driving anyhow”
Babalawo /ba-ba-la-woe/: Yoruba word used to refer to traditional priest or native doctor/medicine man.
How it is Used: “Don’t take my picture to Babalawo.” “Is he a Babalawo?”
Baff /bahff/: To bathe/bath.
How it is Used: “He is baffing.” “I wan to baff.”
Bolekaja /buh-leh-ka-ja/: This literally means “Come down let’s fight”. It is a type of bus that existed back then in Lagos. It looks like a lorry. It is very tight, movement in the bus is highly restricted, so if you wanted to fight, you’d have to disembark first with the person.
How it is Used: “I sat in the front sit of a Bolekaja.” “This Bolekaja don old”
Bress /brehss/: Breast.
How it is Used: “My bress is big.” “Why you take hand touch bress?”
Bus-stop /boss-stop/: The point that is generally recognized as the spot where a bus stops and picks people. It is often named after the place, people or something historic, dominant or stands out in the area e.g Salvation Bus-stop.
How it is Used: “I am stopping at the next bus-stop.” “I waka reach bus-stop today.”
Change /chay-nge/: Lower denominations of a currency given in exchange for a higher currency. During a transaction, you give the seller 500 naira for a product/service worth 100 naira, the seller would give you 400 naira. The 400 naira is your change. It is lower than the initial 500 naira given. Another instance is when you have 500 naira and you need it broken into lower denominations like 50 naira note, 100 naira note, 200 naira note or any denomination lower than 500 naira.
How it is Used: “Give me my change.” “I don’t have change.”
Chop: /chup/: To eat or consume.
How it is Used: “He choped Jazz.” “I wan chop.”
Conductor /kon-doc-tor/: The assistant driver that helps in creating awareness of the destination the bus is headed. He also collects the transport fare from the passengers and communicates to the driver, the destination of each passenger. He is the middle man between the driver and the passengers.
How it is Used: “Conductor, give me my change.” “The conductor beat up the driver.”
Danfo /dan-foe/: Yellow buses in Lagos. They are relatively bigger than “cabs” but smaller than “Molue“.
How it is Used: “I entered danfo.” “Danfo jam one guy.”
Drop /drup/: To come down from a vehicle. To get off a bus, car, okada, etc.
How it is Used: “Oga, I wan drop.” “Make I drop, abeg.’
Ejo /eh-joh/: This is the yoruba word for “please”. It could be sarcastic or genuine. When sarcastic, it is accompanied by “o” i.e ejo o (Please o).
How it is Used: “Help me carry this bag, ejo.” “Ejo o, don’t talk to me like that.”
Famz /farmz/: To form familiarity. To try and create/force a non-existent relationship often with a celebrity, a popular or influential person.
How it is Used: “Rita was famzing Linda Ikeji.”
Faragon /fa-rah-gun/: These are volkswagen of “Danfo”. They are very common in Lagos.
How it is Used: “The Faragon wey I enter ehn, no be for here.”
Gerrarahere /geh-rah-rah-here/: This means Get out of here. This was born out of a skit that went viral, it featured Francis Odega saying “Get out of here” with fake american accent.
How it is Used: “Do me a favor please, Gerrarahere mehn shiii… for real.” “Gerrarahere please.”
Ghen Ghen /gen-gen/: An exclamation to announce the arrival of trouble. It imitates the sound in your head when trouble is coming or when you get caught doing something bad/wrong. It also creates anticipation in gist, to give effect and room for the question, “what happened next?”
How it is Used: “Ghen Ghen, the police showed up, we knew it was over for the man.”
Igbo /e-gbo/: Marijuana. A substance that makes people high.
How it is Used: “This one don smoke Igbo.”
Jam /jam/: To hit someone or something. To collide with someone or something.
How it is Used: “Why did you jam my car?” “Danfo jam one guy.”
Jazz /jahzz/: n. a spell. v. To cast a spell.
How it is Used: n.“You put jazz?” v. “You don jazz the guy.”
Jeje /jeh-jeh/: To stay calm or relaxed with deliberate intention not to intrude in anyone’s space.
How it is Used: “I sat down jeje, staring at the receptionist.” “I jejely stood on the line.”
Jungle Justice /jon-gul jos-tis/: This is the judiciary penalty of the streets. It is the outcome associated with the streets taking laws into their hands.
How it is Used: “No time to wait for police, jungle justice took over.” “Jungle justice has led to the untimely death of innocent individuals.” ‘Jungle justice is the way forward.”
Kabash /ka-bash/: To Pray.
How it is Used: “I’ve learned how to Kabash.” “I started Kabashing.”
Kabu-Kabu /kah-bu-kah-bu/: A small car, like a cab, that transports 4-6 individuals (who maybe strangers to each other) going to the same destination.
How it is Used: “Enter Kabu-Kabu from the junction to the bridge.”
Keke /ke-ke/: A tricycle used as an alternative means of transportation. (syn. Maruwa, Keke Maruwa)
How it is Used: “The Keke refused to stop.” “Keke drivers are like Okada riders.”
Lagosian /lay-goh-shian/: A person in Lagos who has lived in Lagos and is aware and accustomed to the ways, culture and behavioral patterns in Lagos.
How it is Used: “I am a Lagosian.” “Lagosians find it hard to live anywhere else.”
Mojo /mo-jo/: Ginger. To be in an ecstatic mood or in high spirits.
How it is Used: “Don’t kill his mojo.”
Mokiyin /mo-kee-yeen/: Greetings in Yoruba.
How it is Used: “Mokiyin mummy.”
Molue /moh-loo-weh/ Yellow buses in Lagos. They are relatively bigger than “Danfo” but not up to “BRT“. They
How it is Used: “I entered Moluwe ths morning.”
Oga /or-gah/: A slang for jest appraisal.
2. Used to refer to someone you consider above you.
How it is Used: “My oga pays salary on time.” “You be oga na.”
Okada /or-ka-da/: The street name for motorbikes or motorcycles. Used as a means of transporting passenger(s) from one point to the other at a price.
How it is Used: “The okada man was angry.” “Keke drivers are like Okada riders.”
Oko Ashawo /oko-ash-ah-wo/: Yellow and black cabs. They are so called because they work round the clock. Oko means husband and ashawo represents prostitute in Yoruba, hence, “Oko ashawo” means “Ashawo’s husband”.
How it is Used: “I just entered one oko ashawo.”
Ole /oh-lay/: This is a term used to describe a person who steals, in other words, a thief. It sounds better in pidgin or yoruba phrases.
How it is Used: “Ole!” “Ole ni yen (You’re a thief).” “He is an Ole.”
One-fifty /won-fif-tee/: one hundred and fifty naira.
How it is Used: “I paid one-fifty.” “He said the transport fare was one-fifty.”
Owa /oh-wah/: This is what people say in Lagos to notify the driver of their destination or their intention to get off the vehicle. It is a Yoruba term. It is often accompanied by “o”.
How it is Used: “Palmgroove Owa o.”
Oyinbo /oh-yee-bo/: This is a term for foreigners or “white” people. It can also be spelled as “Oyibo“.
How it is Used: “I saw one oyinbo man today o .”
Sawa Fish /sha-wa Feesh/: Herring Fish. It is a type of fish that is bony, partially smoked and bent round. Usually sold in sets of 4 or 5. It is tasteless when eaten like that but tastes better when seasoned with spice and plenty pepper.
How it is Used: “Sawa fish is too bony.” “I’m addicted to sawa fish”
Sharp-sharp /shap-shap/: To do something immediately, quickly or with twice the normal speed. It is used to emphasize the rate of speed. (syn. sharp)
How it is Used: “He closed his eyes sharp-sharp, so the fly won’t enter.” “I paid the conductor sharp-sharp”
Vex /vex/: To be angry. (syn: para)
How it is Used: “This guy dey vex me.” “You are vexing me.”
Yab /yab/: To taunt or make fun of a person.
How it is Used: “Don’t yab me.” “He was yabbing Simon.”
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