Your ultimate Guide to Ghanaian Pidgin

Love Ghanaian Pidgin, Here’s a pidginary to help you understand what the hell Ghanaians are saying online. These are phrases you’ll hear different young Ghanaians using. These terms are best understood depending on the context they’re used.

Chale/Chaley

Do not spell this as Charlie. It is use to refer to anyone.

Sample Sentence

Charle, charle come here!

Troski

public transportation

Sample Sentence

My apple fell in the troski

Mate

name of the bus conductor in the troski

Sample Sentence

the driver and mate i came with were arrested for wrong parking.

Kmt/Comot

This means to go out. Used differently – kmt for der – it means fuck off.

No Yawa

no problem

Abeg

This is a typical Nigerian dilution of an English word, It means “I beg “

Bola

meaning rubbish or trash

Borga

this is typically used to refer to someone who has been outside the country, more specifically, outside Africa

Akata

meaning is gangster or s street boy/girl

Takashi/419

this means to defraud someone/ trick someone

Jot

refers to cigar or in some cases weed

Chow/Cho

local name for food. It can also be used as a sign of exasperation

Hung

This is pronounced horng and means hungry.

Sample Sentence

Chale you chop? I dey hung roff. // Chale, have you eaten? I’m very hungry.

Shormi

This is both a verb and a noun. It means to apply a fragrance (as a verb) and also perfume, fragrance (as a noun)

Toss/Mell

While we’re on the subject of smells, Toss in Ghanaian Pidgin means smell. To say someone stinks, you can just say, that guy dey toss. A synonym for this is Mell which as you can guess it’s just shortened from Smell. Ingenious right?

Shada

This is both noun and verb. It means clothes (as a noun) and to wear clothes (as a verb). It can also be used to describe a well dressed person.

Don/Kick

This means to wear. Kick is also used in the same way, although it’s also used generally to refer to sneakers/shoes.

Bee

This means beautiful.

Gb3ke

This means night and is derived from Ga, the native language of Accra.

Gb3nk3

This means near.

Gbele

This means to open.

Chao/Chaw

This means plenty.

Rydee

This means right now.

Trabo

This means trousers.

Herh

a sound to express shock or disbelief

Sample Sentence

Herh! If I catch you.

By Heart

this means recklessly.

Sample Sentence

He doesn’t think, he always act by heart/ he doesn’t think he always acts recklessly.

Dier

an exaggerating term, excluding something or someone; making it/them stand out

Sample Sentence

You don’t want anything here, as for you dier.

Tron

Not to be confused with the Joseph Kosinski directed sci-fi movie, or the Justin Sun cryptocurrency. Tron in Ghanaian pidgin mostly means hard or strong.

Origin

This is very likely derived from strong based on spelling and pronunciation. Think strong, trong, tron. Do you see it? Or are we reaching?

It can also be used to mean wicked. You’re wicked in most Ghanaian languages translates directly into your head is hard. For instance, in Ewe, you’d say “ta gbor s3s3” and in Twi, “woti ye din”.

Sample Sentence

The guy tron oooooo.

Barb

This means to understand.

Sample Sentence

She teaches very well, I always barb the work/ she teaches very well, I always understand the work.

Bost

This means to steal. Used as a noun and verb. It can also mean to ‘blow my mind’

Sample Sentence

The small boy bost my slippers/ the small boy stole my slippers. Your girlfriend really dey bost my mind/ your girlfriend really blows my mind away.

Kai

This means to remember or to recognize.

Sample Sentence

You dey kai where we go last time? // Do you remember where went the last time?

Rec/Jie

This means to resemble.

Vee

to visit

Sample Sentence

I go vee the woman/ I went to visit the woman

Medo

term for medicine

Vex

This means to be mad.

Sample Sentence

the girl make I vex/ the girl has made me angry

E Over Me

This means to be overwhelmed.

Sample Sentence

Chale this job dey over me. // Chale, this job is overwhelming.

Dough

This is pretty universal and not unique to Ghana. Dough means money. Much like Bread, Cheese and other slang terms used to describe money.

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