10 Caymanian Phrases You Should Know About

One of the best parts about living in Cayman is the locals and the stories they have to tell. Although English is our first language, the Caymanian dialect has it's own unique twist that make this island even more spectacular and special. Taken from 'the Cayman Islands Dictionary' by Kevin M. Goring, and in honour of all the native Caymanians out there, here are a few of our favourite Caymanian phrases.

1. Ah Wah (ah-wah)

1. Or what? 2. The end of a question 3. yes or no Eg. "You going home ah wah?"

2. Barriss (bah-riss)

1. An abbreviation of the word "embarrassment", to cause disrespect or unkind attention. Eg. "I see one time Harry had get barriss when he asks one gyal fah her phone number n' she tell him she had ah boyfriend."

3. Bobo (boh-boh) - From West Bay

1. A close and personal friend 2. The object of one's affection. 3. a woman's pet name for a boyfriend or close male friend Eg. " I gah plenty guy friends but Derrick is my bobo."

4. Breddren (breh'drin)

1. A close friend, cousin, or family member 2. a trustworthy friend that is supportive and genuine Eg. " Sometimes when I bored I juss go down by my breddren house n' cool out." 

5. Charge Up (cha'aje up) 

1. Extremely drunk and rambunctious 2. disorderly 3. wildly boisterous 4. turbulently active and noisy Eg. "Don't mess with Renny when he charge up. He doon' business bout nuttin anybody det say anyting ta him, gah get diss out"

6. Duppy ( dup-peh)

1. A ghost, shadow or spirit of a dead person 2. a disembodied spirit imagined, usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting the living. Eg. " I hate walking through chrew town when it dark cuz I 'fraid duppy gah ketch me."

7. Wutless (wutt-liss) 

1. worthless 2. without worth; of no use, importance, or value; good-for-nothing. Eg. " Lass night, my neighbah call her husband ah wutless man, cuz he loss his job in den went out drinkin' wit his severamce pay."

8. Stoopidness ( stoop-pid-niss)

1. Pure foolishness 2. annoyances and irritants; trouble 3. really outrageous. 4. uncalled for 5. making no sense whatsover Eg. " I think it's pure stoopidness ta go rent movies when I jess pay $1,599.00 fah ah new DSS system."

9. My Sweetums (mye-swee-dum'z )

1. A nickname for a young baby 2. an expression of passion or excitement for something cute; as in a young baby Eg. look ah my sweetums eh? I lowe he lil' pretty eyes."

10. Horse Laugh ( hawr'se-lahf)

1. an uncontrollable outburst of laughter 2. rough and noisy, jolly or rowdy, clamourous, unrestrained laughter Eg. "Dah time when Samueal had run ta he car in da rain n' slip down in one big puddle ah mud, errybody let out one horse laugh, yih-see."


Pick up a copy of The Cayman Islands Dictionairy by Kevin M. Goring at Books & Books in Camana Bay.