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Template:Refimprove Template:Original research South African slang, reflects many different linguistic traditions found in South Africa.

Afrikanerisms Edit

This list of "Afrikanerisms" (referred to as "funagalore" - not to be confused with the created language Fanagalo which was used in the mines of South Africa (also known as RSA) Flag of South Africa to ensure workers from various language backgrounds could communicate) comprises slang words and phrases influenced by Afrikaans and other African languages. Typical users include people with Afrikaans as their first language but who speak English as a second language; and people living in areas where the population speaks both English and Afrikaans. Many of these terms also occur widely amongst South African Coloureds, these terms do not occur in formal South African English.

  • ag man - oh man; ag as the Afrikaans equivalent to "oh", man pronounced as in English
  • antie - an older female authority figure. [Word used most often by Indians. Derived from the Afrikaans word for "aunty"]
  • anties - breasts, as in "check die lekker anties op daai girl!"
  • aweh/awe (pronounced \AAAH-WHERE\ --> not rolling the "R") - said in excitement, as in: Aweh; my boss said I can go home early today.. The word has many meanings or uses: "hello", "goodbye", "yes". Also associated with prison use. (Greeting) "Aweh my bru" (Hello my friend). Compare: howzit, yooit, hoesit, yo.
  • baas - boss
  • babbelas - hangover (of Zulu origin)
  • bakgat - cool; expression of appreciation for something very well accomplished
  • bakkie - a utility truck, pick-up truck, now a mainstream word in South African English. Can also refer to a small bowl.
  • bakvissie - (goldfish) a giggly teenage girl
  • bale - (tv) used to signify annoyance (pronounced barlee)
  • befok - really good, exciting, cool; as in "The rock-show was befok." [Do not confuse with gefok.] Can also mean "crazy" in a very strong sense, as in "Are you befok?" — derogatory(err:definitely not a polite enquiry). Ek het daai ou befok - meaning I cheated that guy in a transaction. Profanity - the base fok meaning to have sex.
  • bek - derogatory term for mouth (Afrikaans: an animal's mouth); hou jou bek - "shut up" (literally" "hold your [animal's] mouth"). This translates well into British English as "Shut your gob."
  • bergie - from berg, mountain, originally referring to vagrants who sheltered in the forests of Table Mountain; now a mainstream word for a particular subculture of vagrants, especially in Cape Town. When used as slang refers to anyone down-and-out
  • bill - used to ask for the cheque; as in: "Can I have the bill, please?", identical to British English
  • biltong - dried meat, similar to jerky (a mainstream word)
  • blerrie/bladdy - damn
  • bliksem - strike, hit, punch; also used as an expression of surprise/emphasis (rude; many consider the word a profanity). It derives from the Dutch word for "lightning", and often occurs in conjunction with donner. Used as a curse in Afrikaans: Jou bliksem!
  • bioscope, bio - cinema, movie theatre (Template:As of dated), originally a international English word that became defunct elsewhere, it has survived longer in South Africa[1] as a result of the influence of the Afrikaans cognate bioskoop. Also related to the Dutch word "bioscoop", which Template:As of means "cinema" in Netherlands usage.
  • blou - being sad as in the English language feeling blue
  • bloutrein - literally "blue train", referring to methylated spirits, sometimes used for drinking (filtered through a loaf of white bread). Also refers to the Blue Train, a luxury train that travels from Johannesburg to Cape Town.
  • boer - literally "farmer" in Afrikaans. English-speaking people use the word to indicate an Afrikaans farmer, especially in a derogatory way, like "country bumpkin", "boorish"; but Afrikaners use it with much pride, indicating a person with a deep love of the soil of Africa, a provider of food.
  • boerewors - spicy sausage (Afrikaans) farmer-sausage, used as a mainstream word in South African English
  • boet - male friend (synonym for broer meaning brother, see also bru and bra below); compare American English: "dude"
  • bokkie - (diminutive of bok, literally meaning "goat" or "doe") a popular term of endearment, comparable to "sweetheart", "honey", etc.
  • bompie - A fat girl that is easy to get into bed. (For example: "Rico het 'n bompie vasgedruk gisteraand.")
  • boom - Literal translation is "tree" but is commonly used to refer to marijuana
  • bosberaad - strategy meeting held outdoors, for example in a game reserve
  • boskak - to defecate out on the veld (then using a handful of bushes or leaves to wipe the behind) (bos=bush; kak=shit)
  • bossies, or bosbefok - crazy, whacko, mad. Also a term to describe one who has shell shock. Refers to the time of the South African Border War where soldiers spent time in the bush ("bos/bosse") and would return home suffering battle flash-backs (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
  • brak - mongrel dog, can also refer to brackish water.
  • broekie - panties or ladies underwear. From Afrikaans: broek, meaning "trousers". Common usage: "Don't get your broekies in a knot" = "Calm down".
  • bra - male friend compare American English: "dude"
  • bru - A term of affection see also "bra" and "boet", shortened from Afrikaans broer, meaning "brother". An example would be "Hey, my bru, howzit?"
  • button - mandrax tablet (Slang Only)
  • braai - a barbecue, to barbecue (from braaivleis), used a mainstream word in South African English
  • cheekyprawn - a term of foul abuse
  • cherry - "meddie", see tjerrie
  • china/chine - a friend; as in the greeting howzit china (likely origin: Cockney rhyming slang "China plate" (meaning "my mate"); from early British immigrants.
  • chommie/chomma - a friend (compare English "chum"); also refers to the perineum area between vagina and anus
  • choty goty - beautiful girl
  • chrisco - a party/disco where Christian music mainly features. A combination of the words 'Christian' and 'Disco'
  • Chwee chweereekeys- getting high
  • cuiter - a word used to describe somebody if one has a strong dislike for that person. It has a similar meaning to the word cunt in the English language e.g. daai cuiter pronk toe nog so lekker toe donner ek hom
  • cullis - young girl who is extremely lead.
  • dagga - most common word for Marijuana.
  • dik bek - grumpy, in a huff (literally: "thick mouth" (pout), with an image of puffed-out cheeks like a bullfrog)
  • dinges - thingamabob, a wotzit or a whatchamacallit
  • domkop - idiot (lit. Dumbhead), same as German "dummkopf"
  • donner - to beat up. Used together with "bliksem". Derived from "donder" (thunder, related to Thor). Amounts to an ancient curse.
  • doos - idiot (more likely an "asshole"; can also mean "female genitalia") (profanity)(rude). For example: "John is the biggest doos to walk the planet!" From the Afrikaans word for box as used in common everyday language. Though people trying to speaking Afrikaans in a pure form still use the word doos when referring to a small box.
  • dof - stupid or slow to understand.
  • dop - alcohol, to drink alcohol, to fail. For example: "Come and drink a dop (a drink) with me" or "I'm gonna dop that test."
  • dorpie - small town
  • doss, dossing - Sleep or nap.
  • Droë wors - (Afrikaans) 'dry sausage', similar to biltong
  • dronkie - drunkard
  • draadtrek - masturbation, pulling your wire.
  • druk - to embrace (not necessary sexually)
  • eina! - ouch! used as a mainstream word in South African English
  • ek sê - I say!
  • entjie - Cigarette. For example, "Awe ou. Steek 'n ent!"
  • flaterwater - correction fluid (e.g.: Tipp-Ex, Wite-Out) [comes from flater (mistake) and water (water)]
  • floue - an unfunny (weak) joke (used by Gauteng Indians, from the Afrikaans word for weak), can also refer to weak coffee or tea or weak alkoholic drink. A person that is weak. (Die man is te flou "The man is too weak").
  • fok - Afrikaans for "fuck", can be used in most ways it is used in English. Fokkende = fucking, gefok = fucked.
  • gatvol - fed up, had enough. (Afrikaans - asshole-full).
  • gees - Literal translation it means spirt, for something to have spirit. ( daai bra het nou groot gees gevang)
  • gesuip - very drunk, intoxicated, plastered. Original Afrikaans meaning for an animal drinking (water) - of course.
  • goffel - Ugly girl/woman. For example,"What a G!". Also a degrading term for a person or coloured origin.
  • gomgat - bumpkin, redneck. (in the US sense, not to be confused with rooinek, the literal translation of redneck.)
  • goof, goef - swim, dip
  • gooi - throw, chuck or to "tune" (see below) someone.
  • gwar - vagina (vulgar).
  • "heita" - heita, meaning "hello" or "hi".
  • hoesit, hoezit, howzit - derived from "How is it going? - contracted to how's it?_In English SA context, howzit is more a greeting of "hello" rather than "how are you?", similar to SA black slang's "eta" or "ola"
  • hoer - whore
  • hotnot/hottie - derogatory term for a Coloured person (The Oxford English Dictionary notes use of "hotnot" as recently as 1992.)
  • in sy moer - badly damaged, destroyed (rude, often considered profanity due to 'moer')
  • ja - yeah (literally "yes" in Afrikaans)
  • jags - Meaning "horny". For example, "Jinne meisie, jy maak my nou sommer lekker jags."
  • ja-nee - Literal translation : Yes No. Example : Dis warm vandag. (It's hot today) : Ja-Nee. Agreement, but not enthusiastically so.
  • jislaaik! - expression of surprise, can be positive or negative. Often used when you get a fright, but equally often during particularly exciting parts of a rugby game.
  • jol - to have fun, to party, can also refer to a disco or party, to commit adultery or even dating or courting
  • kaffer or kaffir - derogatory word for a black person; as in "Don't call me a kaffer". Equivalent in offensiveness to "Nigger" in USA. Derives either from the Dutch word "kaffer" meaning ill-mannered or clumsy, or the Arab "kafir" meaning infidel.
  • kak - Literal translation : Shit. Crap, rubbish, nonsense (profanity), of very wide usage. Also used as a way of further expressing one's feeling in language, for example, instead of "that girl is pretty" one can say emphatically "that girl is kak pretty!"
  • katkop - half a loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with chips (i.e. French fries, not crisps) (Literal translation from Afrikaans = cat head or cat's head)
  • khaki - [from the colour worn by British troops] derogatory term for an English person
  • kêrels - police (Original Afrikaans meaning: guys). "The kêrels are coming, watch out!" (Dated). More commonly referring to boyfriend or Literal translation : Guy or young man.
  • kiff, kif, kief - (adjective) poisonous, wicked, cool, neat, great, wonderful. The word derives from the Afrikaans word for poison: gif. Coastal pot-smokers used the term to describe Durban Poison: "Gifs" [locally-grown marijuana]. The word evolved into kiff, an adjective for "cool", amongst English-speaking people on the east coast.
  • klankie - unpleasant smell. Also said as just "Klank". Pronounced as in "Clunk"
  • klap - to smack. (From Afrikaans). "He got klapped in the bar". Like a "bitch-slap".
  • koffie-moffie - a camp male waiter or air steward. See "moffie".
  • kont - same as 'Cunt' in English (profanity)
  • krimpie - old person
  • kwaai - cool, excellent (Afrikaans: "angry". Compare the US slang word phat.)
  • lag - to laugh. For example: They lag at the joke.
  • laaitie, lighty - a younger person, esp. a younger male such as a younger brother or son (or daughter Template:As of)
  • lank - lots/a lot
  • laanie, larny - (n) boss, used in a deferent tone. (adj) fancy
  • las - 1. an act that is undesirable to commit. 2. To tell someone or suggest to stop doing an act. (origin. something that is slowing you or an object down e.g. 'n Las in die pad. (An object as in a stone in the road.)
  • lekker - nice, good, great (lit. tasty)
  • loskind - a really slutty girl, usually wears revealing clothes and is easy to get with (For example: "Nicola is 'n fokken loskind!")
  • ma se poes - "your mother's vagina", used so often it has virtually become traditional. Equivalent to doos. Variation: "Jou ma se poes".
  • maat - friend (OED), also your partner (wife, girlfriend)
  • mal - mad, crazy, insane
  • mallie - mother
  • mamparra - stupid, silly
  • mmchakawally - cigarettes
  • meit/meid - derogatory term for a black or coloured woman (from Dutch, meaning girl, and in old(er) Dutch also used like the English "maid(servant)") (OED)
  • mielie - millet corn (AmE) / maize (BrE), staple diet
  • muggie - bug, especially a little flying gnat
  • moegoe - stupid person, coward, or weakling
  • moer - to assault (from Afrikaans 'moor' - to murder) (rude, often considered profanity as is Poes or doos). Also an animal's womb, used in the phrase Gaan vlieg in jou moer! as in screw off! (literally "Go fly in your mother!")
  • moerse - big, massive, impressive. "I had a moerse piece of meat at the braai". "He scored a moerse try."
  • moerskont - Variation: "Jou ma se poes".
  • moffie - male homosexual (derogatory). Can be compared to "fairy".
  • moer-toe - stuffed up or destroyed (my car is moer-toe)
  • mompie - retard. ("Liesl, you are such a Mompie!")
  • morne - boring, sterile, unexciting. ("This is more Morne than watching Saracens play!")
  • mos - Afrikaans, implies that what has been said is well known or self-evident (a formal part of grammar, the closest English equivalent would be "duh!"). "Ek drink mos tee." ("I drink tea, duh!"). Used at the end of a sentence, as in "...Jy weet mos." ("...You know then.")
  • naartjie (Afrikaans)- tangerine, mandarin, satsuma - any pealable orange-coloured citrus fruit with neat segments; used as a mainstream word in South African English, and a dietary staple. Often thrown at T.V. when frustrated with referee decisions.
  • naai - slang for sex (In Afrikaans, naai actually means to sew). Also used to describe a gay or disliked person.
  • N.A.A.F.I. - (pronounced NAAFI) acronym for: "No Ambition and Fuck-all Interest"; (originated from the (still existing) British military "Navy, Army and Air Force Institute") used to describe a lazy person. Used extensively during the days of National Service.
  • nè? - do you know what I mean/agree?, oh really?, is it not so?, e.g. "Jy hou van tee, nè?" ("You like tea, don't you?") (informal)
  • nogal - of all things. Term expressing a measure of surprise
  • nooit - never, no way, unbelievable!
  • oom - an older man of authority, commonly in reference to an older Afrikaans man (Afrikaans for uncle)
  • ou (plural ouens) man, guy, bloke (also oke) (literally "old")
  • ou balie - old man; as in: "shaft me ou balie"
  • ousie - Term used to refer to a maid, usually a black female (sometimes derogatory); Also used by black females to call/refer to each other
  • pap - traditional maize porridge similar to grits; can also mean "deflated".
  • plaas - Literal : Farm. Also to describe when someone fell down : Plaas gekoop.
  • plank - derogatory term used by English-speaking people to refer to Afrikaners. Stems from people with a thick Afrikaans accent sounding 'as thick as two short planks' when speaking English
  • platteland - rural area
  • piel - penis
  • poes - vagina (cunt) or a rude name for someone: Jy is 'n poes! It is often considered one of the most vulgar words of the Afrikaans language.
  • poeslap - Whore: Jy is 'n poeslap; hoer; Afrikaans slang term for a woman's sanitary towel, (poeas=vagina, lap=cloth or rag); (Obscene English slang equivalent would be "cunt rag")
  • poep - fart. Also: "spuitpoep", literally a "squirt fart" for "diarrhoea" (not used in polite company)
  • pomp - to have sex (from Afrikaans word for pump) (rude)
  • pommie, pom - derogatory term for an English person (borrowed from Australia)
  • rooinek - ("red neck") Afrikaner derogatory term for English person or English speaking South African. Derived in 19th century due to native British not being used to the hot African sun and getting sunburnt, especially on the neck. Almost the exact opposite to the American usage of "redneck".
  • sat - dead - see 'vrek' below. (Pronounced as sut in English)
  • sies - expression of disgust, disappointment, annoyance, as in: ag, sies, man.
  • scrompie - slang for "hobo" or bergie. (Liesl told her 7-year-old son, Karl, to walk away from the scrompie walking towards them.)
  • skaarpie - someone who might be referred to as a "pussy"
  • skeef - crooked, gay, as in: hy het 'n bietjie skeef voorgekom (he seemed a bit gay)
  • skief - to glare at someone (root: Afrikaans 'skeef', skew)
  • skop, skiet en boom klim - literally "kicking, shooting and climbing trees". A colloquial description of an action film, usually of the lighter, more humorous kind. (Think Jackie Chan.)
  • skop, skiet en donner - literally "kicking, shooting and beating people up". A colloquial description of an action movie of the more violent kind. (Think Jean-Claude Van Damme.)
  • skelm - crook, or mistress, secret lover
  • skinner, skinder - gossip
  • skop - kick
  • skort - watch out, be careful or something is wrong here.
  • skraal - very hungry. (Durban region, from Afrikaans for "thin" or "emaciated".)
  • skrik - fright
  • skyf - cigarette, a puff, and also less commonly Marijuana or dagga.
  • smaak - to like another person or thing
  • smaak stukkend - to like very much or to love to pieces (literal meaning of stukkend). "I smaak you stukkend" = "I love you madly".
  • smeerlaken - Afrikaans lit. "spread" + "sheet" i.e. an Excel or Lotus worksheet
  • sneeudier - old person
  • soek - to look for trouble with someone/to antagonise/to stir up trouble = "you soeking with me?" - Afrikaans: "to look for".
  • sommer - for no particular reason, just because
  • sosatie - a kebab on a stick, used as mainstream word in South African English
  • soutpiel/soutie - derogatory term for English person, literally salty penis. Someone with one foot in England, the other in South Africa and their penis hanging in the sea
  • steek - stab, poke (with knife); have sex. "He/she steeked her/him" = "He/she poked her/him".
  • steekmoer - someone who looks like a woman from the back but a man from the front. Used as a derogatory term for males with long hair
  • stukkie, stekkie - a woman (from the Afrikaans meaning "a piece") - mostly used when referring to a woman that you have/have casual encounters with
  • stoep - porch, verandah, like American English stoop, but pronounced with a shorter vowel
  • stompie - a cigarette butt, a short person or impolite term to refer to the remaining arm/leg/finger after an amputation.
  • stukkend - (Afrikaans) broken, a lot
  • swak - broke. Original Afrikaans: weak. "I'm swak, ek sê". Also used to suggest that someone's behaviour was harsh (with varying degrees of seriousness,depending on tone and context), for example: "It's swak that I failed the test"
  • tekkies - sneakers. (The Anglicised pronunciation tackies has become mainstream in South African English.)
  • tiet - English equivalent Boob or Breast
  • tet - breast or boob
  • toppie - father - see ou ballie
  • tos - to wank, to jerk off (masturbation).
  • trek - to move or pull. (The word has become international with the meaning of "making a pioneering journey"; the slang usage more closely resembles the standard Afrikaans meaning.)
  • tuinbooi - Term used to refer to a gardener, usually a black gardener (Derogatory)
  • TVP (tiener vel probleem)- Acne problems
  • vaalie - mildly derogative term used by people on the coast to describe a tourist from inland (Root: Old Transvaal province)
  • vellies - veldskoens, traditional Afrikaans outdoors shoes made from hide
  • verkramp - politically conservative or pessimistic, the opposite of verlig, or enlightened
  • voetsek/voetsak/voertsek - get lost, buzz off, go away, run, scram, stuff off, bugger off (it can be considered rude, depending on the context)
  • vrek - derogatory term for dead. (Original Afrikaans meaning for an animal dying)
  • vrot - bad, rotten, putrid, sometimes drunk
  • vrotbek - someone who swears a lot or is swearing a lot at the moment.
  • vry - to make out or courting (equivalent to American "necking", British "snogging" or Australian "pashing")
  • Vrystaat vineyard - Shifting spanner
  • woes - wild, untidy, unkempt or irreverent. A general term pertaining to either a person, behaviour or situation
  • yoh - an expression of surprise e.g. "Yoh, you gave me a fright!", "Yoh, that was rude", (Police-chief talking about the poor physique of his policemen) "They should look at our men and say "yoh!".
  • Zef - from Ford Zephyr car, cheap to tune-up; cool, rough guy; common person; ultimate South African style; kitsch.
  • zol - a homemade cigarette rolled with old newspaper or rizlas (likely marijuana-filled) joint (equivalent to American "doobie")

Words from KhoeSan languages Edit

  • aitsa - is usually used when exclaiming agreement like you would when saying "sweet!", "nice!", "lekker!", and "got it!" .
  • dagga - marijuana (has become a mainstream word in South African English)(from Khoe daxa-b for Leonotis plant)[2]
  • gogga - bug (from Khoe xo-xo, creeping things, here the g is pronounced like ch in Scottish loch)[2]

Words from Xhosa, Zulu and the other Nguni Languages Edit

The following lists slang borrowings from the Nguni Bantu languages (which include Zulu and Xhosa). They typically occur in use in South Africa's townships, but some have become increasingly popular amongst white youth. Unless otherwise noted these words do not occur in formal South African English.

  • chana - my mate (from Zulu, 'my nephew'); umshana
  • chaile - time to go home
  • cocopan - small tip truck on rails used in mines (from Nguni nqukumbana, Scotch cart)[2]
  • donga - ditch of the type found in South African topography. (From Zulu, "wall"; this has become a mainstream word for such a feature.)
  • eish! - an interjection expressing resignation
  • fundi - expert (from Nguni 'umfundisi' meaning teacher or preacher) - used in mainstream South African English
  • gogo - grandmother, elderly woman (from Zulu, ugogo)
  • haw! - expression of disbelief
  • hhayibo! - wow! (from Zulu, 'definitely not')
  • indaba - conference (from Zulu, 'a matter for discussion'); has become a mainstream word in South African English
  • inyanga - traditional herbalist and healer (compare with sangoma)
  • jova - injection, to inject (from Zulu)
  • laduma! - a popular cheer at soccer matches, "he scores!" (literally: "it thunders", in Zulu)
  • muti - medicine (from Zulu umuthi) - typically traditional African
  • Mzansi - South Africa (uMzantsi in Xhosa means "south")
  • sangoma - traditional healer or diviner
  • shongololo (also spelt shongalolo) - millipede (from Zulu and Xhosa, ukushonga, 'to roll up')
  • spaza - an informal trading-post/convenience store found in townships and remote areas
  • toyi-toyi - protest-dancing; used in mainstream South African English
  • tsotsi - gangster, layabout, no gooder
  • ubuntu - compassion or kindness, humanity
  • yebo - Zulu meaning yes
  • wena - Zulu meaning "you". Commonly used in a sentence "Haw wena!"

Words from SeSotho and SeTswana Languages Edit

  • lekgotla or kgotla - planning session, or strategy (used mostly in official government papers, but even in papers written in English) (from Sesotho (le)kgotla - courtyard)[2]

Original South African English coinages Edit

  • baff - Fart
  • bonehead - derogatory term for an Afrikaner
  • bra - male friend (shortening of brother, see also bru above)
  • canyon crab - see bonehead
  • cherps or chips - "Watch out!", as in "Chips chips everyone, here comes the teacher!" (distinct from the food or snack). Also often used when something gets thrown. Compare "heads up!".
  • chop - idiot, doos
  • chot - a very offensive term for a sexually active female
  • clutchplate - see bonehead
  • connection - a friend, mate, chommie
  • cozzie - a swimsuit, short for swimming costume[3]
  • crunchie - see bonehead, rockspider[3]
  • doff - stupid. "Are you doff?"
  • dop - Drink or to drink, primarily when talking about alcohol
  • give rocks, to - to be indifferent. For example: I give rocks about your concerns! (I couldn't care about your concerns!)
  • giyn - a homosexual male
  • graze - a term used in reference to food. "I'm starving, let's go get some graze."
  • higher grade - a bit too complicated (from the South African matric division of exams into standard grade and higher grade. The system of dividing subjects into higher and standard grade will become non-existent as of 2008.)
  • hundreds - good, fine. (As in 100 percent; for example: John: "Boet, How are you doing?" Dominic: "I am Hundreds boet.")
  • jukka - a lazy person or a loser
  • just now, sometime in the near future, not necessarily immediately. Expresses an intention to act soon, but not necessarily immediately. (as in 20–90 minutes time)
  • now now - an immediate but not literal declaration of impending action, may be past or future tense. From the Afrikaans expression "nou nou". (as in 5–60 minutes)
  • Dutchman - derogatory term for a white Afrikaner.
  • isit - (pronounced: \izit\) the words "is" and "it" put together. Short term for "Is that so?" (For example: John: "Bra, I just found out I have a million dollars!" Charles: "Isit?"; or: John: "Bru, you would not believe how amazing it felt to footskate in front of all those people." Charles: "Isit?") Also, it can mean "really?"
  • lift - elevator
  • location - a Bantu township
  • packet - a plastic bag
  • plankton - see bonehead
  • robot - traffic-light[3]
  • rockspider - see bonehead
  • rope - derogatory term for an Afrikaner - as in thick, hairy and twisted
  • rop - nice, radical. (e.g. "That was such a rop wave.") Also used as a verb meaning 'to steal'. (e.g. "I will rop you of that kief watch.")
  • scheme - to think that (e.g. "I scheme we should go home now"; usage evolved from the hyperbole "What are you scheming?" asked of a person deep in thought.)
  • siff - if something is gross or disgusting or ugly. "Did you see her oufit? It was totally siff!"
  • slops - flip-flops
  • speak goat - derogatory term for speaking Afrikaans
  • soapie - a soap opera
  • swak - carrying out an action resulting in an undesirable or negative outcome; "when you chaffed my cherrie the other day, it was swak oke. Totally swak"; "Moderating a list of slang words is impossible and totally swak oke"
  • Skommel(draadtrek)- to masturbate
  • tickey - Thruppence or 3 pennies. (You could get a tickey for returning a coke bottle and three tickeys would buy you an eskimo pie)
  • tune - to give someone lip ("Are you tuning me?")
  • voetsêk - impolite way to say "go away", commonly used with animals or as derogatory term. (from Dutch voort seg ik)
  • wur - expression of disdain. i.e. "Wur Jukkas, how can you moderate a list of slang? It would be totally swat to remove this word again - it is what it is - SLANG. Wur."
  • zaamie - a sandwich[3]

Slang originating from other countries Edit

The following slang words used in South African originated in other parts of the Commonwealth of Nations and subsequently came to South Africa.

  • buck - the main unit of currency: in South Africa the rand
  • china - friend, mate (from Cockney rhyming slang china [plate] = "mate"), alternatively, as above coming from the Bantu word umshana
  • chow - to eat
  • coaster - a state of affairs that surpasses cool
  • Kaffir - [racial slur for] a black person. 1790, from Arabic "kāfir" كَافِر, literally "one who does not admit the blessings of God", from kafara كَفَرَ "to cover up, conceal, deny". In a purely religious sense would refer to an atheist not believing in any creator or creative-force, but in Ottoman times it came to refer almost exclusively to "Christians". Used as a term of disdain referring to Dutch Colonists in Indonesia/Malaysia. Carried to the Cape of Good Hope by Dutch colonists who consequently used it to refer contemptously to the native population. Early English missionaries adopted it as an equivalent of "heathen" to refer to Bantus in South Africa (1792), from which use it came generally to mean "South African black" regardless of ethnicity, and became a term of abuse at least as early as 1934. (Usage Template:As of actionable on account of historical ties to Apartheid and incitement to racial hatred.)
  • pom, pommie - a Brit (used also in Australian and New Zealand English)
  • shab short for shebeen. In common usage.
  • shebeen - illegal drinking-establishment (from Irish sibín), synonymous with speakeasy. In South Africa it refers in particular to unlicensed bars in the townships, and has become a mainstream word. During the apartheid era laws prohibited non-whites from consuming any alcohol except traditional sorghum beer, and taverns selling 'hard-tack' became the centre of social activity.
  • tom - money or cash, as in "I must earn some tom". From Cockney rhyming slang where "tom" comes from "tomfoolery" ("jewellery")
  • whenwe - a nostalgic white migrant from other parts of Africa, especially Zimbabwe: "when we were in Rhodesia..."

Slang terms originating from ethnic minorities Edit

South African slang Edit

The majority of Coloureds in South Africa speak Afrikaans. Those who speak English use the equivalent English words as slang. Many of the words used also occur in South African Indian speech.

  • Awe - "Howsit" , "hello". A slang way of greeting someone
  • befok - "mad"; also possibly "super cool", as in My broe daai kar is befok. Pronounced \ber fork\.
  • betters - "To replenish" or "refill". Example: Ekse lets make a betters with the mineral
  • boss - "nice" - "that girl is boss exse"
  • bot - refer to gaam usually associated with a person, act or object that is either dodgy or gangster-like. (Originated from Afrikaans slang bot.)
  • guy - similar to the American English word "dude"
  • bolt/one out - used extensively in KZN. Means "by yourself" or "only one".
  • chop - "sex" or penis- "don't be such a chop (wanker)" (KZN).
  • chup - "tattoo"- "cool chup exse"
  • chow - "eat". It can also refer to sex.
  • crown/kroon - "money"; can also refer to virginity.
  • cuiter - a word used to describe somebody if one has a strong dislike for that person. It has a similar meaning to the word cunt in the English language e.g. daai cuiter pronk toe nog so lekker toe donner ek hom
  • dobbel - "gamble"
  • duidelik - direct from Afrikaans, meaning "clear"; used to express clarity on something or excitement about something.
  • eksê - from Afrikaans, translated it means "I say". Used in greeting i.e. "Whakind eksê" or in general speech.
  • gaam - dodgy/gangster i.e. That person is gaam. (He is a gangster.)That place is gaam. (it is dodgy.)
  • gammie - diminutive of 'Gam', derogatory term for coloured people in South Africa, particularly in Cape Town. Derived from the derogative 'gammat', an abbreviation of Arabic 'Muhammad' and 'Mohamedan'.
  • gatsby - large chip roll with meat and lekker sauces (Cape Town)
  • gully - "area" or "corner" (KZN)
  • hard up - "in love"
  • Hosh - "Hello"; also used before combat. Example in combat: Hosh, jy raak wys ("Hello, show me what you made of"). This gang-related word occurs inside as well as outside of prison: use at own discretion.
  • jags - "horny". The first form occurs in Cape Town; the second predominates on the east coast of South Africa. May also mean "crazy" or "mad". Examples: Person A: I want to get robbed Person B: Are you jags? or Persoon A: Ek wil my werk verloor Persoon B: Is jy jags?.
  • lekker/lukka - "nice" [from Afrikaans]. The first form occurs more commonly; the second predominates in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
  • lappie(pronounced *luppee*)- "cloth", "dish towel" "face cloth"
  • maader - "the best", "excellent"
  • meet up - Used in the Kwa-Zulu Natal region, a term usually used when saying "goodbye". For example: Lukka meet up ekse.
  • min - to be completely disinterested in something. For example "so min for that jol" or "when you're min you win"
  • mineral - pronounced 'min ral'; used by Indians as well. "Fizzy drink" such as Coke, Fanta, Sprite, etc. (KZN)
  • "motjie"- wife/woman
  • naai - "sex" (Western Cape) Also used as a noun "Jou ou naai" (literally "You screw") and used in the plural: "naaie" (literally more than one "screw"), meaning an undesirable person rather than the sexual act. Definitely not polite language.
  • oweh - pronounced \ow where\, a way of saying "oh yes" or expressing delight.
  • posie/pozzie - "home". Afrikaans-speakers tend to use the first for; English-speakers the second.
  • press - "sex", as in: "I want to press my young one tonight" (KZN)
  • shot - "good" or "correct" or "thanks" (depending on context). Example for the meaning "good" - Person A: What is 3+3? Person B: six Person A: shot. Example for the meaning "thanks": - Person: A I have bought you a sweet Person B: Shot.
  • sunno - Initially an insult, but Template:As of used amongst friends as a greeting, as in: Whakind son
  • Stukkie - "girl" or possibly "girlfriend"
  • Tannie - "aunt", used by Afrikaans-speakers
  • tops - "excellent", "the best"
  • Toppie - "old man", used by Afrikaans-speakers
  • Whakind - a greeting, usually used amongst guys only, and frowned upon when used in greeting women. This word can also express an enquiry about something, especially when used outside the Kwa-Zulu Natal region.
  • What say/What you say/Wat sê jy - alternative for Whakind in the greeting-sense. English-speakers use the first and second forms; Afrikaans-speakers the third.
  • Young one - Refer to "Stekkie"
  • Skommel marstubate
  • onetime - of course, without delay; often used as a positive reply to a question
  • operate - have sex with
  • ou - a person, homo sapiens
    • Charr Ou - an Indian person
    • Bruin Ou - a Coloured person
    • Exploding Ou - a Muslim Person (Insulting Usage)
    • Correct Ou - a good guy
    • Gorra Ou - a White person (insulting usage)
    • Pekkie Ou - a Black African person (derogatory; from the Zulu word for "cook")
    • Slum Ou - a Muslim person

(used in KZN)

  • boss - a salute to an unfamiliar person, or person in authority (usually to a male), as in 'you know what it is boss'.
  • bra - a way of addressing a friend, as in 'Howzit my bra'. 'bra' derived from 'brother'
  • bung - (from Afrikaans 'bang' — to be scared) to be afraid of someone.
  • crown - money
  • condai - bus conductor.
  • graft - meaning work... "hey kazzie, im grafting at coconut grove, lakkaz ekse"
  • kêrel - police man
  • hit a luck - expression, to have met with good fortune. as in, 'hey my bru hit a luck, eee got graft at the Casino'. Also often noted in the form hit such a luck.
  • choon - to tell someone something.
  • clips - Money, 1 clip = R100
  • laanie - From the Afrikaans word meaning "fancy", but used by Indian people to mean "smart guy" ("Smart" as in "well-to-do") or, more frequently, "boss". Compare larnie.
  • lakkaz - meaning lekker from the Afrikaans language.
  • late - A euphemism for dead/deceased; as in 'My daddy is 2 years late'. (Unconnected with the idea of tardiness.)
  • maader - excellent, very good (used especially by Durban Indians)
  • min-rill - from the English word "mineral", meaning mineral water; taken to mean any fizzy drink in a bottle, normally Coke, Fanta, etc.
  • plot - pursue romantically, courting
  • poke - stab
  • pozzy - house or home; place where one lives or hangs out.
  • pehrer - a fight. (Often heard as "Who's gunning a pehrer?" meaning "Who's looking for a fight?")
  • slaan - wear (as in clothes)
  • Vrou - my wife, as in 'Ek sê, I must first ask my Vrou'; from the Afrikaans word for 'wife"/"woman".
  • vying-going, as in we vying to the soccer
  • speech - an argument
  • stekie - girl/girlfriend
  • swaai - to dance. (For example: "Lets vaai (go) swaai.")
  • swak - bad
  • what kind - Greeting, similar to Howzit
  • what what - mostly used in arguments, meaning "this and that". Often heard as what you say what what
  • spiet - to fight
  • benou - (pronounce BER-NOW) - marijuana or dagga. Commonly used by Indians in Gauteng. "no benou there?"-do you have any dagga?
  • koex - drink ("what you koexing?" - what are you drinking?)
  • sharp - goodbye, ("shap im out" - goodbye I'm leaving)
  • aspriss (pron. arse-priss) - to intentionally do something ("I closed the door on him aspriss")
  • ghushesh - bmw 325is
  • arrawise - greeting, derived from the English word 'otherwise' ("arrawise bra watse?")

South African Greek slang Edit

  • skollie - a gangster, to steal (from Greek skolios "crooked", widely used in Cape Town, originally applied by Greek convenience-store owners to street-youths who shoplifted)
  • Mavros plural mavroi (from Greek mavro "black") - Black people, literally: 'blacks'.

South African Indian slang Edit

Many of these terms occur in the Cape Town and Durban areas, and few in Indian areas in Gauteng.

  • an' all - (from 'and all'; like the English 'et cetera, et cetera').
  • aks - mispronounced ask...
  • boarded-off - declared medically unfit to work, and in receipt of a disability pension, As in: 'My daddy was so lucky to have been BOARDED OFF by the corporation'
  • bring and come - an expression normally denoting some type of unspecified invitation to come and perform a particular task at a given location, i.e. 'I told dat TV repair balie to Bring and Come and fix da TV'
  • bunny chow - type of food, made with a loaf of bread filled with a curry stew.
  • cake - idiot
  • cameway - to go with someone, like come with me. Used in Durban.
  • Charo - a person of Indian origin. From the word "curry" (or tea).
  • coat - meaning "quote", mis-pronounced, with a completely inaudible KW sound. as in Hey, can you give me a coat to fix my car?
  • cover - an insurance policy; as in: Hey laanie, can you organise me a cover for my grannie?
  • eeuww man! - an informal way of greeting. The South African Indian equivalent of "Hey dude!"
  • flim - mispronounced filim
  • guzzie - friend (from the Zulu guz'lam)
  • Jaaver - an Afrikaner person
  • kassam - serious, not joking. From Urdu/Hindi meaning "oath".
  • mooing - to flirt. From the Afrikaans word mooi meaning "nice"/"pretty".
  • nana - breast
    • Raven Ou - a Black African or, sometimes, Tamil person. From the Hindu deity RavenTemplate:Citation needed, reputedly dark-skinned. (Insulting usage.)
    • Roti Ou / Bread Ou Hindi person
    • Wit Ou - a White person
  • paining - having pain
  • pano - money, from the Tamil word for "money". Commonly used by all South African Indian linguistic groups as a euphemism for money
  • patla, flouie - usually used to describe poor (unfunny) jokes. Patla can also refer to any kind of damp squib. Patla Patla often refers obliquely to having sex; imitating the sound of two bodies meeting.
  • right - an affirmation, mostly used while giving traffic directions, as in "Go straight, Right. Turn Left, Right."
  • sheila - an ugly woman
  • slaat - action like hit. For example: Don't choon me what what an' all, I slaat you one time laanie.
  • this thing/"dis ting" - watchamacallit
  • toppie - an older male authority-figure. Often used by Indians but also by working-class whites. From an Indian word for "hat".
  • tannie - female version of toppie, from the Afrikaans word for "Aunty".
  • tum-blahh - from the English word "tumbler", meaning a heavy glass. As in: 'hey boy, run and get a Tum-blah for the larnie to have some Min-rill'

South African Jewish slang Edit

  • chattis, khateis (plural chatteisim, khateisim. Yiddish: "a sinner"): approximately equivalent to "white trash". The word refers particularly to poor, white, Afrikaans-speaking communities with endemic social problems. Sometimes used as an ethnic slur against Afrikaners in general. From Talmudic phrase Eyn bor yerey khet - a bor - (uncouth ignoramus) is not afraid of sin. The bor-Boer assonance gives a case for quibble: if not afraid of sin must be therefore a sinner.[4]
  • kugel: an overly groomed, materialistic woman (from the Yiddish word for a plain pudding garnished as a delicacy). Older-generation Jews coined this usage as a derogatory label for Jewish women who aspired to become part of the privileged English-speaking white community. Template:As of usage, often humorously intended, applies the word to any nouveau riche women in South African society who appear overly groomed and materialistic. Bagel and bagel-boy occur as labels for the male counterpart of the kugel. — Compare the American-English term Jewish-American princess which has subtly differing connotations.)
  • Peruvian: a low-class, unmannered and unsophisticated person regardless of wealth, usually Jewish. The term originated from poor Jewish refugees from Russia who arrived in Cape Town on the SS Peruvian in the 19th century. The more assimilated and established Jews from Germany and England looked down on this group, and their descendants remain stigmatised.
  • Schwarzer: Yiddish / German for "black" — a black person
  • shiksa: as in other Jewish communities, this means "non-Jewish girl". Traditionally "slave-girl", from the Yiddish version of the Hebrew word for "dirty, unclean, loathsome"[5] Originally a servant available for sexual use. In South Africa, however, it has the additional meaning of a "female domestic worker".
  • weisser: Yiddish for "white" - a white person

South African Lebanese slang Edit

  • bint : from the Lebanese word for "girl"; used in reference to women in general (as in "check out that hot bint over there.")
  • drib : from the Lebanese word for "hit" (as in "hey ghey ... if you don't stop talking gara, I may have to drib you!")
  • gara : from the Lebanese word for "faeces" or "dung"; refers to something that is crap (as in "that guy is talking gara!")
  • ghey : literally translated from the Lebanese word for "brother"; in colloquial South African refers to "a tinted-windows, lots-of-jewellery" kinda guy (pronounced like "gay" but with a /x/, like a guttural "g" or the "ch" in Scottish loch)
  • stiffle : so what: "if you don't like it stiffle!"
  • uhbed : from the Arabic word for "slave" (Arabic: عبد) - a black person

Special-use slang Edit

Kasi / township slang Edit

  • 411 - giving someone the latest news and gossip.
  • 5 Jakete - R50 note
  • 21(two six) - lies or liying.
  • 150 - Ladysmith/Emnambithi (KZN)
  • 69 (Six nine) - It is to pee.
  • 6 no 9 – "same difference". Like "potato, potatoe".
  • 99 (nine nine)' - "for real".
  • ayoba - Expression of excitement
  • bokgata or Bo 4 - "the police"
  • cake/ikuku - Vagina
  • choc - R20 note
  • chommie - More likely to be used by young girls than guys, the word refers to a friend. A music artist goes by this name.
  • clipper' - R100 note
  • dankie san - [Origin: Rap Music] "Thanks, Dude". Soweto rapper Pro Kid has used it for his new fashion-label, bringing it into the commercial space.
  • doing a bafana - demanding more smeka (money) for being mediocre
  • doing a benni - [Origin: the saying comes from the formerly much-lauded Bafana Bafana striker Benni McCarthy's "uncharitable habit of turning his back on his country"[6] following many instances of failing to turn up to play for South Africa's national football squad.] Meaning "showing disloyalty / being irresponsible".
  • eish - [compare Bantu usage above] (pronounced like /aysh/ but also, less often, as /ish/) - Used to express everything ranging from frustration to surprise to disapproval, but also just everyday acknowledgement of things you can't change like "Eish, the traffic is bad today". Heard frequently each and every day! Also used to indicate displeasure. For example: 'At the time I was the only black guy and I used to ask myself "Eish [1], what am I doing here?"'
  • fong kong - cheap and fake products that one can buy from vendors on the streets. [2].
  • Jakete (from the word Jacket) - R10 note
  • juish (pronounced /Joowish/) - refers to nice and flashy clothes that someone has on.
  • kwaito - popular genre of music, a mixture of South African disco, hip hop, R&B, ragga, and a heavy dose of house-music beats.
  • moegoe - a fool, idiot or simpleton. For example: "moegoe of the week"[7]
  • mzansi - [from the isiXhosa words, Mzantsi Afrika] [3].) A common term which means South Africa. [Mzansi] List of colloquial South African place names first published in Y magazine.
  • pulling a jabu pule - performing a disappearing act. For example: "Are you pulling a Jabu Pule [4] on me?" (Are you performing a disappearing act on me?); or: "I will never pull a Jabu Pule on you" (I will never disappear or go awol).
  • pulling an mbeki - keeping mum because you have nothing intelligent to say, so others will call it quiet diplomacy because at least "diplomacy" sounds like an intellectual word.Template:Citation needed
  • roogie - R50 note
  • Ova - To talk
  • skoon - Kaal voêl steek (without a condom). Generally unprotected sex
  • starter pack - (Origins: Terminology first used by mobile-phone companies but quickly adapted by car thieves and car hijackers.) Refers to entry-level cars [5], especially vehicle-makes occurring commonly on the road and therefore less easy to spot as stolen. Thieves can "chop up" the parts at an illegal "chop shop" and used them for repairs on more expensive vehicles.
  • umlungu - white South African or the Boss (Bass) of the company; isiXhosa word for the white foam that is left on the beach sand, once a wave has retreated back into the sea. (foam is for unprofitable use).
  • vinegar - [Origin: Port Elizabeth] Denoting insecurity; especially used of people who behave nastily to others because of their own complexes. "He's full of vinegar" - meaning he's got so many chips on his shoulder.
  • yebo - a Zulu word which means "yes".
  • Z3 - refers to HIV and AIDS, because of its speed.
  • Coconut – Referring to an African black person who is dualistic in their nature. Black on the outside and White on the inside. (derogatory term used amongst city dwelling Black South Africans).

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. The Oxford English Dictionary notes the special usage of the word "bioscope" in South Africa
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Branford, J. & Branford, W. 1991 A Dictionary of South African English
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Template:Cite book
  4. Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its moods by Michael Wex p.88 ISBN 0-312-30741-7
  5. Compare "Semitic roots" in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
  6. Template:Citation/make link. The Sowetan. 2008-06-03. http://www.sowetan.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=777824. Retrieved 2008-07-12. "Only 31.55% of the SMS poll respondents said McCarthy should not be booted out for doing the Benni, his uncharitable habit of turning his back on his country." 
  7. Template:Citation/make link. Sunday World (Johannesburg: Avusa Media). 2008-06-22. http://www.sundayworld.co.za/swzones/sundayworldNEW/shwashwi/shwashwi1214093690.asp. Retrieved 2008-07-12. "Babble-bek ANCYL president Julius Malema is our moegoe of the week – and hot favourite for the moegoe of the year crown."  Template:Dead link

External links Edit

Template:Languages of South Africa

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