Trini Dictionary

Part 6:  Everyday Trinidadian for visitors...


    Featuring...  
U V  W  X Y Z

Our Trini Dictionary is not intended as a complete resource of every possible Trinidadian word; instead, it is a selection of commonly used words and phrases that you'll likely come across during your Trinidad vacation. Words and phrases that can provide visitors, like you and me, with insights about Trinidad and Trinidadians.

 Standard English Spoken Here 

Trinidadians speak and write Standard English, particularly in formal or business situations. However, alongside this standard exists a Creole, which shares words, grammar, and pronunciation with Standard English, yet is distinctly flavored by Trinidad's diverse cultural mix and history.

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In our Trini Dictionary, you'll discover that Trinidadians use some English words that are fading from use in most other English speaking countries, words like "vex" to mean angry or annoyed, and "grip" meaning a suitcase.

 What makes Trinidadians Trinidadian? 

Most Trinidadians don't consider their linguistic embroidery as anything unusual, only local scholars term these idiosyncrasies, Trinidad Creole. The majority of Trinidadians would think you're missing a few critical bolts if you called their speech Creole, it's simply Trinidadian.

Trinidadians are naturally creative with their use of words, a creativity they also display in calypso music and mas. Enjoy that creativity both here, in our online Trini Dictionary, and while visiting Trinidad. It's part of what makes Trinidadians Trinidadian.

Have fun browsing - learn, laugh and lime. Begin your holiday in the words and phrases of this, the final section of our, Trini Dictionary...

Trini Dictionary – Part 6

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U

 

V

Upstairs House
2 story dwelling.

Vampin'
An offensive smell, putrid. Dat vampin' man - that really smells bad.

Vaps
Sudden strange behavior or inexplicable movement. To suddenly behave in an uncharacteristic or excited manner. As in, He catch ah vaps - he had a fit. May have evolved from the Victorian English term "caught the vapors" or "suffering from the vapors" which meant, to become lightheaded or to faint.

Veni Mange (pronounced Veni Ma-zchay)
Patois meaning "Come and eat".

Vere (pronounced Veh)
One of the most common varieties of mango. Mango Vere.

Vex
To be angry, annoyed. To anger, to annoy. From the English word, vexation, a word rarely used in other English speaking countries. Ah vex yes - I am extreemly annoyed. Doh ge' meh vex, nuh - Don't get me angry, you hear.

Vie-Ke-Vie
To do things is a reckless, careless, unreliable, indecisive or haphazard manner.


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W

Wail
To thoroughly enjoy yourself dancing. To dance with abandon. As in, Ah wail dong de place.

Wais' Dong
Waste down. To belittle. To make someone look small.

Wajang
A rowdy or uncouth person. May be derived from the name of an Amerindian tribe that people of the time judged to be uncouth because they insisted on going naked, and maintaining their traditional lifestyle. See Warahoun', just below.

Walk Wit' Yuh Two Han' Swingin'
To come empty handed, especially when contributions are expected.

Waltz In
To enter without being invited. To enter with airs, self-importance. To turn up unexpectedly.

Warahoun'
A rowdy, quarrelsome person. A ruffian. A wild man. From Guarahoons, an Amerindian tribe that left Trinidad when priests insisted they wear cloths, who returned each year until the 1920s on a pilgrimage to visit Tamana, a sacred mountain from their creation myth. And who, by all contemporary accounts, were reasonable peaceful and civilized, except for their insistence on maintaining their traditional lifestyle. See, Wajang, just above, both words may possibly be derived from the same source.

Wares
Dishes, pots and pans. All the utensils necessary to prepare and eat a meal.

Watchicong
Old fashioned canvas sneakers.

Well Yes!
Expression of exasperation or disbelief.

W'happen?
What happened? What's the matter with you? Are you annoyed with me? How did it happen?

When Ah Tell Yuh
Words can not describe. Believe me.

When Cock Ha' Teet'
There's no way. It will never happen. Literally, that will only happen when chickens grow teeth.

Which Part?
Where?

Who Sen' Meh
How did I get involved. Expression of regret.

Wood Ants
Termites. See Rain Flies.

Wood Slave
Pale colored geckos, which come out at night, often indoors, to eat bugs attracted by electric lights.

Wine, Winin'
A sexually suggestive dance using rhythmic gyrations of the hips and waist that can make the hula look tame. To roll or rotate hips and waist in a suggestive, winding manner. A style of dancing to calypso and soca music that has recently been adopted by hip-hop, rap and pop music. Also see, jook, and chook.


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Y

 

Z

Yam Foot
Very large misshapen feet, with toes spread apart.

Yam It Down
To eat quickly, or with great haste. To devour hungrily.

You An' All
You too. Including you.

Yard Sweep
Costumed carnival character that was still very much alive in the back yards of eastern Trinidad on Jouvert Mornings during the 1970s and 80s. Dressed in old clothes, wearing a wire mask, and carrying a cocoyea broom this character would demand payment for sweeping yards. Refusal resulted in vandalism much like old North American trick or treat.

You Good Yes, You Al' Right Oui!
You can afford to say so. Better you than me. That may be fine for you.

You So
People like you.

Yuh Business Fix
You are all organized now.

Yuh Coo-coo Cook
You are in big trouble.

Yuh Makin' Joke
You can't be serious. See Doh Make Joke.

Yuh T'ink It Easy?
It is not as simple as you think. Believe it or not.

Zaboca
Avocado.

Zandolee
1. A fast moving ground lizard. 2. The name of a calypsonian from the early days of calypso. See Interview with David Rudder.

Zeppo
A hot tip. Gossip whispered in secret. See Maco.

Zwill
1: Broken razor blades tied to a kites tail to cut the string of other kites. 2: A thin person. A thin as a kite string.


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Coconut Head Logo Understanding Trinidadians 

The intent of our Trini Dictionary is to help visitors better understand Trinidad's people and culture, not to encourage visitors to try and speak Trinidadian. Trinidadians are a proud people and misguided attempts to mimic or mock the Trinidadian accent are not always appreciated.
Beach slippers for our guests

The best Trinidad travel tip we can give is to be open to new things, relax, fete, party hearty, and show a genuine interest in Trinidad culture. Do these and you will have the time of your life in Trinidad.

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