US Virgin Islands Local Dialect: Words, Phrases and Sayings

Understanding local dialects can help english-speaking travelers feel right at home when communicating with those locals who speak in dialect.

English 74.7%, Spanish or Spanish Creole 16.8%, French or French Creole 6.6%, other 1.9%

Here are some of U.S. Virgin Islands, phrases, meanings available below:

Meeno – (me aint know) I don’t know

Wha yuh sayin – what’s up

Hail up – hi, hello

Ya – here (St. Croix)

Heh – here (St. Thomas, St. John, BVI)

Cyan (sometimes spelled “kyan”) – cannot

Safe – all right, or okay, i.e. “you safe”

Whe pa’ he/she/yuh deh? – Where is/are he/she/you

Whe’ he/she/yuh deh? – Where is/are he/she/you?

Deh deh – It is here/It is there (St. Croix)

He/she ain deh deh – He/she isn’t there (St. Croix)

He/she ain deh – He/she isn’t there (St. Thomas, St. John, BVI)

I/he/she gon to come back – I/he/she left and am/is returning shortly

I/he/she deh ya – I/he/she am/is here (St. Croix)

Come ya – come here (St. Croix)

Come heh – come here (St. Thomas, St. John, BVI)

I’s – I am

Yuh/ yo – your as in “wah happen to yuh foot?”

You’s – you are

Ahyuh – all of you

* Deh – there
* Dem – them (can also be added at the end of any noun to make it plural, as in “de hass dem”)
* De’ – the, as in “see de’ tings dem rite deh” (see the things right there)
* Dat – that
* Das – that is
* Dah – that
* Ting – thing
* Tek – take
* Mek – make
* Wha – what
* Geh – get, or have
* Cah – because (never used on its own, only used in conjunction with other words in a sentence)
* Faarm – thing, used to describe something, use is similar to colloquial use of “shit” to describe objects or
things
* Fetch – used similarly as “faarm” “Wah fetch I seein here?”
* Blak – (Block) To ignore
* Move from ya/Geh from ya – go away (St. Croix)
* Geh from heh – go away (St. Thomas, St. John, BVI)
* Nah – no
* Clear – light-skinned (similar to the term “red-bone” used by American Southern Blacks to describe light-
skinned Black persons)
* Ih – it, as in “ih real hot outside” (it is really hot outside)
* Ah – of, as in “I geh two ah dem” (I have two of them)
* Ah nex – another, as in “I geh ah nex one” (I have another one)
* Vex – upset (vex is also an English word, but it is used much more often in Virgin Islands Creole than in
standard English)
* Tief – to steal
* Jook/Chook – to stab or poke
* Schupid – stupid
* Parah – crazy, paranoid
* Bus’ off – to leave
* Qaul – shortened form of “quarrel”, i.e. Wha yo quallin fa? (What are you quarreling about)
* Bun tyas – to make skid marks with the tires of a car
* Cahn – marijuana
* Bun – to smoke, usually refers to smoking marijuana
* Wuk up – to dance (usually specific to calypso or soca music)
* Breeding – the state of being pregnant
* Breed – to impregnate
* Breed aff – to impregnate someone/the action taken to become pregnant
* Dealin – when a couple is not yet officially dating, but are on their way to be; the equivalent to the
stateside phrase “talking”
* Deh Togeda – literally “they’re together”, used when a couple is officially dating (St. Croix)
* Mahgah/Meeguh – meager, extremely skinny
* All ah we – all of us
* Cheese and bread – (OR jeez-um-bread) a remark of surprise
* Eh eh – a remark of surprise
* Mehson – literally “my son,” commonly used at the beginning or ends of sentences, akin to the American
English slang use of “oh, man!”
* Deh man (Eeh de man) – use is similar to “mehson.”
* Azman – I agree; ie Someone says “Dah fetch hot today mehson.” (It is hot today.) If you agree that it
is hot you would respond by saying “Azman”
* Yuh chek? – asked at the end of a sentence, akin to saying “you know?”
* Chek you latah – see you later
* Uh huh pampa leh-leh – a remark made by school children when another student has gotten in trouble
* Uh huh pinkidi wahp mahmy sook a lollipop – similar to above
* Coo-coo – the act of defecation, or feces (commonly said by children)
* Rample – to mess up, as in “Don’ rample up de bed I mek up, mehson!”
* Quelbe – official music of the U.S. Virgin Islands, formerly known as “scratch music”
* Quadrille – native dance of the Virgin Islands and other Caribbean countries
* Bahn ya – literally “born here,” an important and commonly used phrase in Virgin Islands society, used by
some to determine whether someone is or is not a “native Virgin Islander.” For example, someone might
say “my parents are from Antigua, but I’m a Virgin Islander, because I bahn ya!”
* Bam! – said after someone has made a stupid joke. Primarily used on St. Croix, its usage is not as
common in recent years.
* Blam! – same as Bam!
* Wraut up – cursed out
* Lyah – liar
* Ah good! – serves you right (St. Croix)
* Ihs good! – serves you right (St. Thomas)
* Seerias! – serious, used when one is serious and is not joking
* Foh true? – you serious?
* Yuh sick de man? – are you crazy?
* Chek yah – come here
* Watch yah! – look at this. Term of endearment used before, after, or during an argument. (St. Croix)
* Ignohrant (also Ignant) – one who gets “vex” quick.
* Gahn een – someone who is crazy; lost their mind.
* Lime/Limin – location of a party or hangout; hanging out.
* Buss Ah Lime – “Lewee Go Buss Ah Lime” (Let us go out.)
* Pickin Whelks – wearing pants with pant legs that are obviously too short.
* Hall Up – Wearing pants above belly button.
* Disgustin – being extremely playful; harassing
* Mos Defenetly – that is true; in high agreement with.
* Neva Dat – never, ever (a instant reaction or response)
* Nah Dat Deh – no sir
* Self – often used in conjunction with a pronoun, (i.e. me’en self know, meaning “I don’t know, myself”)
* Jokey – silly, often used to describe someone who is not serious
* Bazzidy – not thinking straight/acting logically (more as a consequence of being distracted from being in
love)
* Bag-up – Grounded, in punishment
* Licks – a beating
* Bana : as a real ass (you is a real bana)(you are stupid)
* Rass : meaning the term you ( Ur rass stchupid yah)
* Baxide – Butt or ass. Like saying kick his butt
* Bun – means to be cheated on or to have caught a clapse
* My boy or my girl – is used to acknowledge a friend
* Kyard/Hard Kyard – means to cheat on your spouse or lover
* Diff’rently; (differently) means that the person agrees with what you are saying or appreciates a
compliment
* Kriss – very good, perfect
* Lee – means to leave (I gahn lee ah you: I am leaving) OR (Lee di ting alone: Leave it alone)(St.
Thomas, St. John, BVI)
* Koolin – relaxing (I juss deh ya/heh/here koolin – I’m just relaxing.)
* Oh Lawd – oh Lord
* Oh Gawd – oh God
* Fo true – is that the truth?
* Wha mek – why, as in “Wha mek you do dat?” (Why did you do that?)
* Bell – ditsy, dumb
* Dingee – slow thinker
* Dingbat – silly person, uses no sense
* Foolee – a complete idiot
* Eediot – name given/used for one who continuously acts foolish
* Deading – laughing very hard
* Tek a leak – go the urinate
* Scatta – to command someone to leave
* Scatta yo baxide – “get from around me”
* Das wah I tryn’ sho yo! – “That is what I’m trying to explain to you.”
* You doan done – “you’re out of hand” or “you never stop with your craziness.”
* Mahnin (as in “Good Mahnin”) – good morning, a typical greeting among islanders.
* Chi’ren dem – children
* Massive – clique i.e. Crucian Massive, Valley Massive, North Side Massive, Round de Field Massive,
Thomas ville Massive, etc.
* Muddah – mother
* Fahddah – father
* Neyney – godmother
* Pepe – godfather
* Gongolo – millipede
* Puss/Gyul/gyal – girl
* Pussman – a male player
* Toss – boyfriend/girlfriend or a pretty/handsome girl/boy
* Kyat – player of either sex (but primarily used for males)
* Yankee/Cont’nental – a person from the United States
* Gahrot/Gyasso/Islo – Gahrot is originally a reference to a person from Antigua but generally means a
person originally from another Eastern Caribbean island not including the U.S. and British Virgin Islands
(down islander). The term is used as a slight originating in the “garrot bird”, a bird that steals objects;
Gyasso is from garcon, a French patois speaker while local poor white French were referred to as Cha
Cha folk.
* Papa – a person from Puerto Rico
* Santo/Santo Domingan – a person from the Dominican Republic.
* Bukra – a White man.
* Babylon – the United States, the police, or the government
* The Bob – short form of Babylon, but only referring to the United States
* Chicken fry – fried chicken (U.S. Virgin Islands)
* Chicken and chips – fried chicken and French fries (British Virgin Islands)
* Lahlah – idle gossip
* Mih-lay – malicious gossip
* Licks/whoop – spanking (a form of child discipline)ie. “I gon whoop yo lil’ ass.”
* Donkey years – many years
* Science – if someone says something out of context
* Hass – horse (St. Croix)
* Cyar – car (St. Croix)
* Bahnah – a person’s behind
* Foot – consists of the whole leg and thigh area (no specification between the leg or foot. all considered
the foot.)
* Jumbie/Soucoyant – an evil spirit
* Obeah – African-derived religious traditions commonly used to do harm. Derived from the days when
African slaves in the Virgin Islands used obeah against their masters.
* Mocko Jumbie or Moko Jumbie – a popular carnival figure who is a masked, costumed person on stilts who
scares away evil spirits
* Pardnah or Partna – a friend, companion or close associate
* Quaht/Quata – a quarter
* Bubbla – water fountain (St.Thomas/St.John)
* Tahmun – tamarind (St. Thomas)
* Tambrahn – tamarind (St. Croix)
* Jam – a party
* Grave yahd – literally the “grave yard”; the cemetery
* Moomoo – fool, as in “das a moomoo”
* Goonk – an extremely large head (British Virgin Islands)
* Gargan/Bigga/Big Man/Bahss/Bahss Man – street reference to one who is well respected.
* Coonoomoonoo – a fool
* Ahyo you guys or you all(CRUS) ===Profane words/expressions===
* Rizzla – joint
* Buck – built or smells bad
* Antiman, battyman – a gay person
* Rass – ass
* Ram – euphemism for rass, not as vulgar. Could also be used to describe a situation where there is a
crowd of people, for example “the club ram pack” (the club is packed)
* Sket/skettel – a sexually promiscuous woman
* Jam – to gyrate on, or dance closely to
* Muddascunt – literally the Virgin Islands creole pronunciation of “mother’s cunt,” its use is similar to
“motherfucker.”
* Geh yo muddascunt! – a common insult* Wife – sex (the act – past, present or future)
* Mention – another term for lyin or joker.
* Sauce/poptart – A gay man
* Fagit – punk, a weak person, homosexual
* Well my peace/well my fukin peace – state of shock or disbelief
* Confusion – trouble

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