A List of Some of Our Favorite Nigerianisms

February 13, 2016

Nigerians are undeniably special, and one of my favorite things about being one, is that innate way with words we all seem to have.

Everything we say almost always seems to be laced with sarcasm and casual wit. Sometimes it’s not even intentional.

So, here is a list of a couple of my favorite ‘Nigerianisms’:

THE PHRASES

1. My Friend

Usually used when a Nigerian is at their least friendly, either to caution or lure you into a stern warning.

Example: “Daddy, could I please get some money?”

“After that result you brought home? My friend, will you get out of here.”

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2. They said

The thing is no one really knows who ‘They’ is, but it is the go-to pronoun for the Nigerian who doesn’t see the need to be specific.

Example: “They said you just finally got engaged, thank God, we were getting worried.”
they said

3. Are you okay?

Do not confuse this with the ‘Are you okay?’ that typically shows concern. They are basically asking you why you are so stupid.

Example: “You borrowed my shirt and put it up on IG, are you okay?
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4. Good for you

This is Nigerian for ‘I told you so.’ Not to be confused with the ‘Good for you’ that typically means congratulations.

Example: “Didn’t I tell you not to date Yoruba men, you’re now here crying stupid tears. Well, it’s good for you.”

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5. See finish

This is Nigerian for ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’ Usually used when a Nigerian gets disrespected by someone they consider to be beneath them.

Example: “Did you hear how Amaka spoke to me? I don’t blame her, na see finish cause am.”

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6. From where to where?

This is Nigerian for ‘How?’ used when the word isn’t suitable enough to  convey the contempt and/or sarcasm in your voice.

Example: “I think I saw Ada with a Prada bag”

“That one? From where to where?”

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7. Chanced

When someone takes your spot or cuts in front of you.

Example: “See as you just chanced everybody, we that we are on the line do we have two heads?”

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8. Two heads

This is a double edged Nigerian term typically laced with heavy sarcasm, it could be used to mean superior (like the example below) or stupid (like the example above).

Example: “Jolade that came first, does she have two heads?”

dot-and-bette

9. Bad Belle

This is a Nigerian term for the jealous. Whether it be constructive or not, any criticism you offer a Nigerian will probably be met with this tag.

Example: “I don’t think you should continue sleeping with that married man.”

Bad belle. It’s because you haven’t seen your own.”

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10. Come and be going

This is really just ‘leave’ but with a bit more flare. You know Nigerians never do (or in this case, say) anything half-arsed.

Example: “It’s getting late, oya come and be going.”

come and be going

THE DOUBLES

These are terms that have the main word repeated for no particular reason.

de ja vu

11. Waka Waka

Someone who Nigerians have deemed incapable of staying in one place.

12. Bear Bear

This is Nigerian for beard. Please, don’t ask.

13. Follow Follow

This is Nigerian for ‘Yes Man.’ Someone who is easily swayed by a popular opinion.

14. Beggy Beggy

Used when you ask for something the owner has no intention of giving you. Usually targeted at kids.

15. Looku Looku

This is Nigerian for ‘Take a picture, it will last longer’ used for people that won’t stop staring.

 

THE VERSATILE

These are Nigerian terms that can mean a ton of things depending on the user’s inflection and hand gestures.

i said what i said

16. Asin

‘I don’t understand.’

‘How?’

‘Exactly.’

17. Ehen

‘Continue.’

‘And so?’

‘Oh, I get it.’


 

If we missed any of your favorite Nigerianisms, please sound off in the comments.

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