Your Guide to Trini Slang

221c79d6347a86a8e60571108cf6d27dSo you’ve landed in sunny T&T, were met by who many call “the happiest people on earth”, but you can’t quite figure out what’s being said. Good news, you’re not alone.

In Trinidad and Tobago, many different dialects are spoken. Caribbean Standard English is spoken by many, but mostly in a formal or academic setting. What you’ll encounter most however, is Trinidadian English Creole – a style of talking that merges African, French, Spanish and English twangs, born from our nation’s multicultural history.

Trinidad and Tobago, for those who’d like a bit of history, has undergone many voluntary and forced migratory processes that have led to the island’s rich and diverse population characteristics and hybridized language dialects.

From Spanish, French, Dutch and British colonizers to African slavery, to the migration of Indian, Chinese and Portuguese during post-emancipation, indentureship schemes, one thing is for certain:

Our tiny islands have been shaped many different races, religions, cultures, ethnicity and their respective languages so much so that it is almost impossible to separate the modern-day manifestations of these influences, from each other.

So what you might hear when you’re browsing through the hustle and bustle on the streets of Port-of-Spain, or when you visit the Tunapuna market for some local meats and vegetables will be far removed, and much more unique from what you might be accustomed to.

Communicating with Trinis has the potential to leave you spellbound or completely and utterly confused – so let us help you out!

Here are a few Trini sayings or slang terms and phrases that you may encounter and their “Standard English” translations/definitions.


Bacchanal (n)

  • Pronunciation: bah-can-ah-l
  • Trini Use: “Ey, I have a bacchanal to tell yuh”; “That party had too much bacchanal”
  • Translation: drama, scandal, confusion; someone who likes drama, scandal or confusion.

Bacchanalist (adj)

  • Pronunciation: bah-can-ah-l-ist
  • Trini Use: “She/He is a real baccanalist”
  • Translation: someone who likes to cause, or being the center of drama, scandal or confusion.

Back chat (n, v)

  • Pronunciation: bah-c ch-ah-t
  • Trini Use: “Don’t back chat me”, “You know better than to back chat the teacher”
  • Translation: to reply a rude remark to a figure of authority (usually a child to an adult), an insolent response

Broughtupsy (n)

  • Pronunciation: br-or-t-up-see
  • Trini Use: “Yuh have no broughtupsy or what?”, “Dem children have no broughtupsee”
  • Translation: to have good behavior, to have manners , or have decorum

Chinksin (v)

  • Pronunciation: ch-ink-s-in
  • Trini Use: “Oh gosh, how yuh chinksin so”, “Come now, don’t chinks me”
  • Translation: to be miserly, to distribute less than one could, to be selfish (usually used when referring to the distribution of food)

Hoss (n)

  • Pronunciation: h-or-s
  • Trini Use: “Ey hoss…”
  • Translation: refers to a friend

Lime (n, v)

  • Pronunciation: l-ime
  • Trini Use: “You liming this weekend?”, “I having a lime, home by me”
  • Translation: a party, to hang out, a casual get-together

Fete (n, v)

  • Pronunciation: f-eh-t
  • Trini Use: “You going that fete?”, “That fete was real vibes”, “We feting”
  • Translation: a party, a public function usually held outdoors that usually has entertainment

Maco (n, v, adj)

  • Pronunciation: mah-co
  • Trini Use: “Stop macoing the people business”, “You are such a maco”, “That girl could maco!”
  • Translation: someone who likes to know other people’s business, to listen into someone else’s conversation, to eavesdrop or spy on someone

Mamaguy (n)

  • Pronunciation: mah-mah-g-ah-y
  • Trini Use: “You rel like mamaguy eh”, “She/He only mamaguying yuh”
  • Translation: to ridicule, to flatter or deceive by flattery, to make fun of by complimenting.

Parlour (n)

  • Pronunciation: pah-l-uh
  • Trini Use: “Check by the parlour and see if you get”, “The parlour was closed”
  • Translation: a small shop usually situated on the roadside

Tabanca (n)

  • Pronunciation: tah-ban-kah
  • Trini Use: “I have a tabanca”, “Why you being so? You have a tabanca or what?”
  • Translation: heartbreak, depression after the breakup of a relationship

Vaps (n)

  • Pronunciation: v-ah-ps
  • Trini Use: “I catch a vaps and went to the beach yesterday”
  • Translation: a sudden move, a spontaneous decision

Vibes (adj)

  • Pronunciation: v-ibe-s
  • Trini Use: “That party had rel vibes”
  • Translation: good spirits, festivities, very fun and enjoyable

D Other Day

  • Trini Use: “You know, that happened to me d other day!”, “Yes I see her d other day”
  • Translation: a period of time, not an accurate representation of events, can encompass a time in the past that may vary in days, months or years.

Dong D Road

  • Trini Use: “I going dong d road”, “I going by the parlour dong d road”
  • Translation: a place, not an accurate representation of where a person is, or where they are going, refers to an area that is in fairly close proximity to the user’s current location.

Doh Study It

  • Trini Use: “Here na, doh study it”, “I not studyin dat”
  • Translation: I am not doing to let that bother me, You shouldn’t let that bother you.

Waz D Scene?

  • Trini Use: “Ey, was d scene?”
  • Translation: a general greeting; What’s up?, How are you?, How are things going?

Like ting

  • Trini Use: “You like ting eh!”
  • Translation: usually said in jest or playfully; to enjoy drama, to be mischievous

Jeez-an-ages!

  • Trini Use: “Jeez-an-ages, you serious!?”
  • Translation: used in any context that requires an exclamation, used to show surprise, exasperation, annoyance.

You fuh real? or Yuh makin joke!

  • Trini Use: “You fuh real? She do that?”, “Yuh makin joke, these people not easy”
  • Translation: used to verify or to question a statement, used to express disbelief; “Are you serious?”, “Are you joking?”

Yuh fadda is a glass maker?

  • Trini Use: as is
  • Translation: used to express annoyance that someone is blocking you view; “You’re blocking”, “Can you move aside?.

Guys, the list can go on and on. So there you have it – just a few Trini slang terms and saying that you might encounter while on our beautiful island. You’ll definitely come across some that are not on our list – so if you’re confused, ask a question!

Until next time! See our homepage for a direct link for booking your stay with us.