Jamaican Phrases

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In Jamaica, proverbs stand as examples of creolization. Take a look at these proverbs and their meaning.

“Talk and taste your tongue” (Think before you speak).

“Every mikkle mek a mukkle” (Every little bit counts).

“One, one coco full basket” (Do not expect to achieve success overnight).

“Chicken merry, hawk dah near” (Be vigilant as danger can be found in unexpected places).

“Wat doan kill will fatten” (Do not waste time worrying over something that does you no real harm. You may even be able to turn it around into something positive).

“Sorry fi mawga dog, mawga dog wi tun round and bite you” (Sometimes it is those whom we help who are the least grateful).

“See mi a one thing, come lib with me another” (To see me is one thing, to live with me, another or as in another popular saying, do not judge a book by its cover).

“Duppy know who fi frighten” (Bullies know to pick on those least able to defend themselves).

“De olda de clock, de faster it wine” (The older a person is, the wiser).

“Wanti, wanti, cyan getti, getti, getti nuh wanti” Also “silent rivah run deep” and “No mug no bruk, no coffee nuh dash wey” (Count your blessings and do not take what you have for granted).

“When coco ripe, it mus bus” (Actions speak louder than words).

“Hog say, ‘de first dutty water mi ketch, mi wash’.” (Seize opportunities as they present themselves).

“One eye man king in blind man country”. (No matter how bad it seems things may be, there is always another for whom things are worse).

“Nuh fatten cockroach fi fowl” (Do not waste time doing things for which others will be ungrateful).

“Fool-fool pickney mek fowl get away from him two time” (Never allow yourself to be fooled the same way more than once).

“Saltfish sit down pon di counter a wait fi bread and butter” (Lazy people wait for life’s blessings to come to them).

“Mi old, but mi nuh cold” (Do not underestimate the value of the elderly).

“Disobedient pickney nyam rockstone” (Disobedient children will come to a bad end).

“Dawg say if him have money him would buy him own fleas” (Some people, when they wind up with money, will waste it in unnecessary things).