Youths all over the world today have a fascinating way of communication. Let’s not forget the Nigerian youths with their unique lingo and a few interesting ways to express it.
This unique language with which youths communicate is called slang. Most foreigners and, indeed, most local residents not familiar with the colloquialisms of the streets may find it hard at the beginning to decipher such words. Such persons eventually succeed if they persevere over time and give their best chance at learning them.
In this article, we list 13 unique and interesting Nigerian slangs currently trending on the streets:
1· ‘Who dey Breeett?’
“Who dey Breeett?” is a slang invented by music star, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido. The slang simply means “who is breathing?” in Pidgin English.
As simple as that sounds, it is actually questioning why anyone would be taking in the air freely after it has been shown to them.
When you see a beautiful photo, for example, you are expected to be surprised, leading to the question: “who dey breeett?”
This is sort of related to another of the artiste’s slangs, “E choke”, which is discussed next.
2· ‘E Choke’
This was introduced by famous singer Davido. “E Choke” literarily means “it chokes”. However, in the street language, it is an exclamatory remark for something overwhelming or extremely impressive.
When Nigerians see something or someone that goes beyond expectation, this slang is a way of expressing their surprise though it may be a bit exaggerated.
3· ‘Ma Fo’
This is one of the slang of singer Naira Marley (real name: Afeez Fashola) that has stood the test of time and is still as famously used as the first day it was said.
Literarily, this is a Yoruba term that means “Don’t break” but in the real sense, it is saying, “don’t be intimidated or don’t be bothered”.
“Ma Fo” can also mean “don’t worry” and it can be stretched to a street line, “Omo Iya mi, ma fo, mo wa pelu e” which means, “My brother/sister, don’t be bothered, I am here with you.”
4· ‘Chop breakfast/ serve breakfast’
It literally means we will all (eventually) have breakfast. Colloquially, the slang means this life is ‘turn by turn’ and everyone will definitely have a taste of everything, especially heartbreak.
On social media, once someone says “he/she don chop breakfast” or “he/she has been served breakfast”, it simply means the individual’s heart has been broken.
This is a Nigerian slang derived from the Yoruba language which simply means ‘to run swiftly’ out of a dangerous situation.
To “japa” means to abort, run, avoid, terminate, retreat or remove yourself fJapaa the situation. If used in a sentence, it would be articulated like: “His girlfriend told him she was pregnant, that is why the guy japa.”
More importantly, it is now used as a lexicon for young Nigerians to emigrate out of the country. A perfect example in this context is: “Almost every youth want to japa from Naija.”
The word ‘sapa’ has been the most used word on social media lately and people have also used it to sing.
It is a term used in pidgin English to describe a state of being extremely broke or poor, usually after spending extravagantly.
We can also call it the spirit of poverty that targets one almost all the time.
This slang simply means bank account digits. When a Nigerian says “send your aza”, he or she simply means send your account number.
The slang comes from the word “mental’. As a slang, it is used to question a person’s sanity or to say someone is outright mad. “You dey ment?” or “all of una don meant” are classic examples of how the slang is expressed.
9. ‘E Restrict Airflow’
This has the same meaning as “E Choke” but this was initiated by another popular artiste, Ayodeji Balogun, better known as Wizkid. Choking and having a restricted airflow have literarily the same interpretation and effect and the slangs have been used by Nigerians interchangeably.
“E restrict airflow” has also been used as a follow-up response to “E Choke”.
10· ‘We Meuuve’
What started as an imitation of BBNaija 2020 star, Vee Adeyele’s accent when she had a quarrel with her lover, Neo Akpofure, during the show eventually became a popular slang.
Vee was heard telling Neo to “meuuve from the door” (move from the door) when the latter was trying to prevent her from leaving the room.
The words become better accepted as a motivational phrase and a way of Nigerians saying “life goes on”. Many tirades of woeful stories often end with “… but then, we meuuve!”
When Nigerians say KPK, they are saying “Ko Po Ke?” Translated to English, it means “is it not plenty?”
This originates from a song by Chisom Ezeh, popularly known as Rexxie, featuring Mohbad. In the first line of the song, Rexxie said: “Ta lo sope ko po ke?” which means “who says it is not plenty?”
If a beautiful picture is seen online and the viewer comments with KPK, he/she is saying, who says this beauty is not plenty or is this not plenty?
The standard response to this question, according to the original song, is OPP (O Po Pa) and OPG (O po gan) and they mean “it is very plenty.”
“Tule” is another of Davido’s many slang. In a video, the pop star made, in reaction to the news of his rift with Burna Boy in Ghana, was seen shouting “Tule Joor, Tule Jare.”
“Tule” is a Yoruba word that means “free me, release me, or leave me.”
The word found its way unto many lips when many Nigerians started shouting “tule” on social media for N2m cash that Davido promised to whoever could replicate his original video.
In the street vocabulary, “tule” is used to tell people to drop a topic or leave you alone and stop bothering you.
13· ‘We outside’
This is a slang that simply means to be down alone or with buddies doing crazy stuff in the streets. It’s used to say people are having fun outside the country.
When someone posts with friends or alone and captions the photograph: “We outside”, the person is simply saying “We are having fun ‘outside’ (abroad).