Popular Nigerian Slangs and their meaning

by Chimamanda

A person who is not from Nigeria would have a difficult time understanding these Nigerian slangs.

Every country has its own set of traditions, as well as slang terms that are commonplace throughout the nation. In Nigeria, there are slangs that are particular to certain universities, secondary schools, and even specific regions of the country.

It’s possible that natives will have trouble explaining these slang terms to visitors, and it’s also possible that visitors won’t understand them. The following are a few examples of slang that is exclusive to street life in Nigeria.

1. Ehen!

The setting in which one hears this exclamation can lend it a variety of meanings, each of which is distinct from the others. It could mean “I get it,” “and so?” “yes,” “okay,” “continue,” “as I was saying,” “that reminds me,” or any of a number of other things.

2. Jara

Jara is a noun that originates from the Yoruba language. It has the meaning of “to add extra” or “to give a freebie” after something has already been purchased or paid for, and it is up to the discretion of the seller. E.g. “Please add jara”.

3. Osha pra pra

When someone is praising another person, they will use this salutation, which can be loosely translated to mean “you are dope!” Most commonly, it is done so in the street in order to hail or greet a friend or acquaintance who is walking by.

4. Ajebutter

The term “ajebutter,” also spelled “ajebo,” “bota,” or “botti,” refers to a person who was born with a silver spoon. It is possible to translate it as “bourgeoisie,” but this is only a loose interpretation. For example, one might say, “That babe is an ajebutter.”

5. Lepa/Orobo

A lepa is a sexy, thin woman, and the noun that refers to her is lepa. For example, “That lepa babe is smoking hot.” Orobo can be thought of as a more extreme version of lepa. This phrase describes a seductively plump or thick woman. It is also possible to use it in a condescending manner.

Nigerian slangs and their meaning
Source: istockphoto.com

6. Ashewo

This is a slang term for people who work in the sex industry. It is also possible to use it in a pejorative sense.

7. Amebo

A person who engages in or spreads gossip for their own amusement and who should not be trusted is referred to as a gossip. It is also possible to use it as a synonym for gossip in and of itself. Examples include sayings like “You too like amebo” or “That girl is an amebo.”

8. Abi/shey/ba

Abi, shey, and ba are examples of slang that function in a manner similar to that of punctuation. The majority of the time, they are utilized to provide confirmation after a statement, thereby transforming the statement into a question. They are equivalent to the English question mark “right?” For example, “Are you going to come to my party, abi/shey/ba?”

9. Over-sabi

This is a mocking noun that refers to someone who overstates his or her intelligence or knowledge. It can also be used to refer to someone who is a busybody. E.g. “I did not ask you, over-sabi.”

10. Kolo

To lose one’s mind or sanity is the meaning of this verb. Depending on the circumstances, this could be taken either literally or metaphorically. E.g. “He don kolo”.

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