Google translate to identify the origin of Caribbean words

A number of words come from the West African heritage as well. “Day clean,” is a reference to the light cleaning the face of the world. It means ‘first light/dawn.” This is a West African metaphor. “Wari” is a game from the Gold Coast that is similar to draughts and is still played in Antigua today. “Susu” is a word based on the Yoruba word “esusu” meaning a rotation of funds to persons who have contributed to a central banker; a sharing of capital. This practice is done commonly throughout West Africa. A general misconception is that the word had its origins in the French word for “cent.”

The Caribbean use of “Allyuh” and “you all” also bear traits of West African language. Standard English just has “you,” which acts as the 2nd person singular AND the 2nd person plural. African languages make a distinction between the plural ‘you’ and the singular ‘you’ so therefore the “all” is inserted “allyuh”, “you all” to mean more than one. . “Moomoo” a word meaning stupid, or dumb, and “booboo” meaning coal in the eyes are also African based words. “Anansi” likewise is a chief character of folk tales in the Gold Coast. “Jumbi” is a word from Angola meaning a ghost, an entity that returns from the dead. “Locho” is a Congo word meaning “cheap; mean; stingy” that has found its way to the Caribbean. “Tabanka” or its variant (without the nasal consonants “n or m”) “Tabaka,” is a Congo word meaning sold out or bought out completely. So from this we have the Caribbean word “tabanka/tabaka” meaning completely lost in love. “Tooloom” comes from the word “toolumuka” which means to drag oneself or to pull out teeth. The Caribbean word “Lahe” which mean “wutless” or “good for nothing” is based in the Congo word “laha” which means the same. “Kongori” can be found in a series of languages in Africa from Gabon to the interior, and the meaning is the same – a millipede. “Kaiso” among the Niger Delta peoples is a term that means “well done!” and so at the end of a “kaiso” or “calypso” it is very suitable to hear such an acclamation. “Dwen/Douen” is also an African word which refers to the soul of a child that has died
trinidad words -african references

accra -Accra (pronounced Ah, crah)
Fried saltfish fritter. From Yoruba word Akar(a).

Benay Balls
Tobago candy made from sesame seeds, honey and molasses. Benay or Bennee is a word of African origin.

Biting insect or flea. Word of African origin.

Religious ritual of the Shouter Baptists, celebrated with drumming, vibrant dancing and chanting. The sacrifice of chickens and goats is often used as part of the ritual. Participants and sometimes onlooker's ketch de power, a form of religious ecstasy. Includes some elements of African ritual magic.

Tambu Bamboo
Bamboo drum rarely see today. Comes from Congolese word "utambu" meaning 'drum'.


Registered Member
STFU Opti, I schooled you once before...:

West/Central African & Indigenous Word Origins Of The Greater Caribbean:

Anglophone nations -
  • Anansi = "Spider", from the Ewe language
  • Bakra = From the word "mbakára" in Efik languages. It mean's "white man"
  • Bim = n. Specific to Barbados. Derived from Igbo 'Ndi Ibem' or 'Ibem' meaning 'My people'
  • Duppy/Dopi = n. Ghost. Akan origins
  • Jook = v. To penetrate. Fula/Fulani origins
  • Jombee = n. Ghost. From the Kongo/BaKongo language. The origin of the word "zombie".
  • Nyam, Niam, or Yam = v. To eat. Wolof/Fula/Fulani origins
  • Obeah/Obia = n. Folk magic, sorcery, and religious practices. Specifically Igbo origin
  • Okra = From "ọkwurụ" in Igbo, a vegetable.
  • Se or Seh = Meaning "That". From Igbo
  • Unu (Wunna, Yinna, Hunnuh) = n. "You all", "You guys". Of Igbo origin, meaning the same thing

Religions -

  • Abakuá = An Afro-Cuban men's initiatory fraternity, or secret society, which originated from fraternal associations in the Cross River region of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon. Known generally as Ekpe, Ngbe, or Ugbe among the multi-lingual groups in the region, these closed groups all used the leopard as a symbol of masculine prowess in war and political authority in their various communities. The term Ñáñigo has also been used for the organization's members.
  • Dügü = An ancient extended funerary ceremony practiced by the Garífuna people. It is a type of funeral ceremony that brings the community and families together.

    It is a festival that aims to bring deceased ancestors of the Garífuna to the present and lasts between two days to as much as two weeks. The ceremony seeks to cure ill persons that have become sick because they have displeased the "gubida" (spirits). Families and friends gather around drums and sing, calling the gubida to the ceremony. This ceremony is headed by the Buyai (shaman).

    The Buyei is responsible for organizing and ordering all parts of the ceremony including food, clothes worn, sacrifices, and its length. Once the Buyai believes the spirits of the ancestors are present, the sick person is given food and rum. The rest of the food and alcohol is sacrificed and the person is predicted[clarification needed] to be cured.
  • Kumina = A religion, music and dance practiced by, in large part, Jamaicans who reside in the eastern parish on St. Thomas on the island. These people have retained the drumming and dancing of the Akan people.
  • Palo (or Las Reglas de Congo) = A group of closely related religions or denominations, which developed in the Spanish colonies of the Caribbean amongst Central African slaves of mostly Bantu ancestry.
  • Santería (Also known as Regla de Ocha, La Regla Lucumi or Lukumi) = A syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin influenced by Roman Catholic Christianity. Its liturgical language, a dialect of Yoruba, is also known as Lucumi.
  • Vodou = Practiced chiefly in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. Vodouists believe in a distant and unknowable creator god, Bondyè. As Bondyè does not intercede in human affairs, vodouists direct their worship toward spirits subservient to Bondyè, called loa.
  • Winti = the Afro-Surinamese traditional religion that resulted from the coming together of different elements of the religious beliefs of the slaves that were brought to Suriname from different west African tribes (nowadays countries). Similar religious developments can be seen elsewhere in the America's and the Caribbean (e.g. in Brazil's Candomblé, Cuba's Santería, Haiti's Voodoo, Trinidad and Tobago's Orisa, etc.)

Pan-Caribbean Words:
  • Cassava, Kassav or Yuca = n. Original word was Casabi, in Arawakan languages
  • Bammy (or Casabe) = n : Bread, made from the Cassava
  • Hurricane = Arawakan word was "Huracan"
  • Fufu/ or Cou-Cou = A staple food of West and Central Africa. It is made by boiling starchy vegetables like cassava, yams or plaintains and then pounding them into a dough-like consistency
  • Manati' = n : Sacred Sea Cow, is "Big Woman of the Great Spirit of the Waters. Also called Manatee.


Same words in Garífuna and Taino:
  • Baba = n : Father.
  • Bagua = n : Sea.
  • Bana = n : Greatness or Grand Place
  • Casabi (or Casabe) = n : Bread, made from the Yuca.
  • Eieri' (or Eyeri) = n : Men, This is a word in the Taino womens language.
  • Ereba = n. Hispanicized as 'Arepa'.
  • Guatu' (or Watu) = n : Fire.
  • Hutia = n : Rabbit, Caribbean Rabbit.
  • Li = pn : Him, They or Them.
  • Liani = n : Wife.
  • Liren = n : fruit that grows on a plant.
  • Macu' = n : Big Eyes.
  • Manati' = n : Sacred Sea Cow, is "Big Woman of the Great Spirit of the Waters. Also called Manatee.
  • Mime = n : Little Fly.
  • Na = n : Thing.
  • Nagua = n : Small Loincloth made of white cotton, also used today by the Taino Men. A Note from the TITC Inc : the useage of the term "Taparrabo or Tail Cover" when referring to a Native American Loincloth is a racist Spanish term and should not be used. "The Indigenous people are not animals, we are human beings" Guanikeyu.
  • Siani = n : Married Woman.
  • Ua = No

Similar words:
  • Guaiba' = v : Go or leave. (In Garífuna we say "Beiba")
  • Guey = n : Sun. (In Garífuna we say "Weyu"). It also means "Day" in Garífuna.
  • Naniki = n : Spirit or to be active. In Garífuna "Nanigi" means Heart.

West and Central African words in P.R. Spanish
  • Bembé- A party
  • Bemba= Big lips
  • Bambalan=Big person
  • Cuajo=the ear
  • ñangarita=something useless
  • Cafre=A person with bad way of living
  • Baquiné=a funeral for little kids where instead of mourning, we are celebrating its departure to heaven
  • Chamba= luck
  • Mongo=weak
  • Monga=flu
  • Bambú=a tree
  • Chiringa=kite(correct me if the word isn't African in origin, but I suspect so)
  • ñangotao= A erson who is seated incorreclty
  • Bimbazo=a punch
  • Bugalú=a dance
  • nene-Boy
  • cucurucho-a corner or hidden place
  • candungo-a cube
  • motete- baggage
  • mejunge= all messed up
  • burundanga-same definitio nas mejunge
  • Chumbo,a-A non curvy person

West and Central African words in in the French Antilles (probably WAY more too)

  • genbo: bat
  • gonbo: okra
  • kongoliyo: centipede
  • agoulou: voracious



Registered User
trinidad words -african references

accra -Accra (pronounced Ah, crah)
Fried saltfish fritter. From Yoruba word Akar(a).

Benay Balls
Tobago candy made from sesame seeds, honey and molasses. Benay or Bennee is a word of African origin.

Biting insect or flea. Word of African origin.

Religious ritual of the Shouter Baptists, celebrated with drumming, vibrant dancing and chanting. The sacrifice of chickens and goats is often used as part of the ritual. Participants and sometimes onlooker's ketch de power, a form of religious ecstasy. Includes some elements of African ritual magic.

Tambu Bamboo
Bamboo drum rarely see today. Comes from Congolese word "utambu" meaning 'drum'

i thought Tambu came from Tambour. But Even Tambour could have come from utambu so that's pretty interesting


Qualified Mixologist
Some African words still used in Dominica

Ackra A small fritter made of flour batter fried in oil, usually with a base of shredded salted codfish or titiri. Introduced by West Africans. Originates from the Yoruba word: akara, "an oily cake made from beans ground and fried."

Bélé A dance performed in Dominica from the earliest arrival of West Africans to the island. Of all the folk dances it has the strongest African roots and has its origins in festivals associated with mating and fertility. A male and female (in Creole, the "Cavalier" and the "Dam") display each other’s dance skills and hint at their sexual is in the form of chants led by a "chantuelle" with the refrain or "lavway" given by a chorus of spectators. The French adapted the name of the dance to "Belaire".

Da-da: Nurse or elder female who takes care of a child. It comes from the West African Ewé language: da-da or da: an elder care taking sister.

Doucouna (dukuna): A small pudding made of a variety of mixtures of grated sweet potatoes, cassava, grated coconut, cornmeal, plantain flour, spices, sugar and essence, wrapped and tied in a balizier leaf and steamed. From the West African Akan language: doko na: "sweet mouth" or doko no: "sweet thing". Also called cankie.

Jombie: An evil spirit. The word originates from a branch of the Bantu language especially of the kongo-ngola group in which there is the good nsambi ‘God’ and the evil nsumbi ‘Devil’. Carried across from Africa to Dominica in various Central and West African language sub-groups, nsumbi became Jumbie or Jombie in its Creole form. Good and evil were under the same spiritual power constantly tussling for a balance between the two. Songs and religious practices celebrated the contest, but over time only the Jombie, the evil spirit, was remembered. In early folklore this Jombie could affect your health while you were asleep at night or wreck your good fortune. Practitioners of Obeah were supposed to be able to drive the spirit out or make it affect others. The Jombie is also used as a bogeyman in stories to frighten children into obedience.

Okra: A young green pod about 4 to 6 inches long, noticeably ridged and pointed with slimy seeds and flesh used as a boiled vegetable. It grows on a flowering shrub with lobed, hand sized leaves: Hibiscus esculentus (Malvaceae). The plant was brought from Africa and the name is from the Igbo word okworo.

Obeah: A set or system of secret beliefs in the use of supernatural forces to attain or defend against evil ends. It is African in origin but on its arrival in the Caribbean certain aspects of Christian ceremonials and sacraments were integrated into its activities. It varies greatly in kind, requirements, and practice, ranging from the simple, such as the use of items like oils, herbs, bones, grave-dirt, blessed communion wafers and fresh animal blood to more extreme ingredients. Obeah men or Obeah women are names given to its practitioners. The term Pyai, from the Carib for shaman is also used in Dominica relating to the casting of spells. Origins for the word Obeah come from the Twi: o-bayo-fo (witchcraft man). From the Nembe: obi (sickness, disease), and Igbo: obi (a mind or will to do something) and the Ibibo: abia (practitioner, herbalist).

One-pot-hold-all: A whole meal cooked in one pot. The practice was common in West Africa. The Wolof word benacin means "one pot" and "a meal made by cooking everything together".

Sensay Costume: A costume of West African origin worn at Carnival time in Dominica. It is made of frayed rope and other fibrous material such as pounded leaves of the agave, ‘langue beff’ (Furcraea tuberosa) that grows mainly on the west coast. The material is tied around the body in layers so that it cascades from the head to the feet. A mask is usually worn on the face and cow horns form the headpiece. Sensay costumes are also made of strips of paper, cloth, frayed plastic sacks and dry banana leaves ‘pai fig’. They are similar to costumes used in West African tribal ceremonies. The word comes from the Twi language, senseh, which is a type of fowl with curled or ruffled feathers. The costume is named after its resemblance to the fowl, which also has special spiritual properties among the Twi people.

Su-Su (Sou-Sou): A friendly co-operative savings scheme originating from Africa whereby each person in a small group contributes every week or month, as agreed, an equal portion of money. The sum of the group’s total contribution goes to one member of the group in rotation, so that every month, week or fortnight one person benefits from a large sum of money that can be put to a particular use. It comes from the Yoruba word esusu, meaning: "a fund were several persons pool their money". In Dominica the practice is more often called a "sub". Although still used, the system was far more widespread before banks openly welcomed small-scale savers and before the Credit Union movement established itself throughout the countryside in the 1950s and 1960s.

Tosh: A small round piece of padding made of a coil of cloth or dried banana leaves, which is put on top of the head to act as a pad when carrying heavy loads on the head. Associated with the verb -tuta, -tota: "to carry, pick up, load" in Kikongo, Ci-Luba and other Bantu languages common to West Africa.

Wawa: A species of wild yam (Rajania sintenisii) found in the forests at lower and middle elevations and called by the Caribs bihi and kaiarali. But it is now known by its African name ‘wawa’ from the Twi language for ‘large tree’ in that it is a tree-climbing yam with a widely spreading root system. It was the main food for the Maroons in their camps in the mountains and was mentioned in the reports of British governors as being one of the reasons for their survival. Although it was much used by the Caribs they never cultivated it because of the belief that if they did so it would cause their family to die out.

Yam: (Dioscorea spp.) A tuberous root of which there are many varieties that are cultivated and eaten in Dominica and throughout the Caribbean. The word comes from a variety of West and Central African languages such as Fula and Twi in which words such as nnyam, nyiama, enama also mean ‘meat’, ‘food’ and ‘eat’. Some of the yams cultivated here were brought from Africa in sailing ships during the time of the Slave Trade (Old World Yams) while other yams are indigenous and were used by the Caribs long before the arrival of Columbus (New World Yams). There are over 600 species of yam in the tropics, however only ten of these are of any importance as food and there are great variations in the size and shape of yams. In Dominica the African Old World yams are: the greater yam (Dioscorea alata), the yellow Guinea yam (Dioscorea cayenensis) known here as yam jaune, the white Guinea yam (Dioscorea rotundata) yam blanc, and the lesser yam (Dioscorea esculenta). Among the New World yams are the Cush-Cush (from the Carib, kúsu) and the Wa-wa (Rajania cordata) a wild yam in the forest. The Creole names for the different varieties of yam sometimes vary from one part of Dominica to another and they include names such as: yam d’leau, yam batard, yam marron, yam a piquants noir, yam bonda, babaoulay, yam Antoine and lady’s yam etc. Yam is generally peeled, cut into chunks and boiled, but is also roasted or pounded in a ‘mash pilon’ and made into ‘ton-ton’ or mashed and made into a pie.
Good thread


New member
Can you tell me where I can read information about transfers and travel?
I'll try to help with that. I just love to learn foreign languages myself, do translations and of course travel. I try to go to at least 3-4 countries every year, so I already have a lot of experience. I have already had a lot of experience. By the way, these articles from helped me a lot, so I recommend to read them if you are interested in foreign cultures and so on. I hope it was useful!