NIGERIA: Popular Naija Slangs and Their Meaning

WaysHowTo 9 months ago
Updated 2022/07/06 at 6:11 PM
11 Min Read
Learn Naija Slangs
Learn Naija Slangs

There are so many slang words in Nigeria that you might find confusing. New words find their way into the street vocabulary while the older words are easily relegated to the background.

In Nigeria, Slang words spring from a careless statement made on the street or from music. Some folks pick them up immediately, and before you know it, it becomes a trend that has come to stay as an accepted slang. An example of trending slang is ZAZU from a song by a Nigerian artist called Portable.

Some slang words make it to the dictionary after gaining some level of recognition and acceptability.

Little wonder, Nigerian social media has always been a fun place with slang here and there. Not to worry, I have compiled the list of popular slang words used in Nigeria and their meaning to help you master the street vocabulary.

Most Used Slangs In Nigeria

  1. Mad O: This is one of the most popular slang in Nigeria that has made its way into the Urban Dictionary. It has its origin in the streets of Lagos, and it is an expression made when something unbelievable occurs or is said. A lot of people use this slang.
  2. E Choke: This was introduced by famous singer Davido. “E Choke” literarily means “It Chokes”. However, in the street language, “e choke” is an exclamatory remark for something overwhelming or extremely impressive.
  3. E Resist Airflow: It is used as a follow-up response to e Choke. Although, it has the same meaning as “E Choke”, it was initiated by another artist Wizkid. Choking and having a restricted airflow have literarily the same interpretation and effect. So, the slangs can be used interchangeably.
  4. We Meuuve: This slang is used by Nigerians as a motivational phrase meaning “life goes on.”
  5. Tule: Tule is a Yoruba word that means “ to free, release, or leave something or someone.”
  6. Who Dey Breeett: Who dey Breeett? is another slang invented by Davido that simply means “who is breathing?” in Pidgin English, it is actually questioning why anyone would be taking in the air freely after seeing what has been shown to them. for example, when one sees beautiful pictures you will be like Who Dey Breeett because the person is beautiful.
  7. Ma Fo: Literarily, this is a Yoruba term that means “Don’t break.” As a slang term, Ma Fo means “don’t be intimidated or don’t be bothered. This is one of singer Naira Marley’s slang words that have stood the test of time and is still as famously used as the first day it was said.
  8. Serve Breakfast/Chop Breakfast: It is a term used to describe heartbreak or disappointment. It is also used to portray the idea that life is rotational, and everyone will eventually have a taste of everything, most especially a broken heart.
  9. Japa: This is a Nigerian slang derived from the Yoruba language which simply means ‘to run swiftly’ out of a dangerous situation. To Japa means to abort, run, avoid, terminate, retreat or remove yourself from a situation.
  10. Sapa: A slang word used in Nigeria to describe a state of brokenness and extreme poverty, especially after extravagant spending.
  11. Aza: It means Bank Account Number. When a Nigerian tells you “send your aza”, he or she is simply asking you to send your Bank Account Number.
  12. Ment: This slang is derived from the English word ‘mental’. It is used to question a person’s sanity or to say someone is outright mad. “You dey ment?” Or “All of una don ment.”
  13. Fall Hands: This slang is used when someone is disappointed by a person, an event, or something.
  14. We Outside: It means to be down alone or with buddies doing crazy stuff in the streets. It’s used to say people are having fun abroad.
  15. Wahala Be Like: “Wahala be like…” is one slang that might transcend 2021. It has lasted longer than other slang. Even “be calming down”, as hot as it was when it trended, fizzled out with time.
  16. Mugu / Maga: This is used to describe someone regarded as a fool or someone who is very gullible or being conned.
  17. Yahoo: This is a term used in Nigeria to describe internet fraudsters.
  18. Inside Life: It started with self-acclaimed Marlians. It is the reality of things. When there is a remarkable secret that can’t be explained, someone says ‘Inside life’.
  19. Gbam: Nigerians use this slang to show their agreement with a speech that is being made.
  20. Dem No born You Reach: This slang is used to dare someone so they don’t do something they plan/threaten to do.
  21. Bone That Thing: To forget or ignore something.
  22. Gbege: A synonym for ‘trouble’
  23. Pour Sand Sand For My Garri: Spoil someone’s show or burst someone’s bubble.
  24. Baff Up: This is used to describe the way someone is flamboyantly dressed. When someone asks you to ‘baff up’, the person means you should look good.
  25. I Go Change Am For You: Used to warn someone to exercise caution and not to make them angry or face the consequences.
  26. Pepper Don Set: A popular Naija slang that means ‘money has come’ or ‘I now have so much money. In this slang, ‘pepper’ refers to money.
  27. Wetin: It means ‘what?.
  28. Jara: Jara is derived from the Yoruba language, and it means to add extra or give a freebie after something has already been bought or paid for.
  29. You Get it! If You Don’t Get It Forget About It: It is used to wave off someone who does not understand a conversation.
  30. UAR: UAR became a buzzword in June 2021 when the Nigerian National Assembly reportedly received a proposal to change the country’s name from Nigeria to the United Africans Republic (UAR). Trust Nigerians, the UAR became another trend on social media, as everyone on social media was leaving Nigeria for UAR.
  31. God When?: This is another trend that Nigerians are loving. For some, it’s a prayer, especially used when you desire and admire something you’ve seen, but it is commonly used to refer to a dream relationship.
  32. Where Una Dey See This Money: This line is often used anytime an individual flaunts his or her wealth when others are wallowing in poverty.
  33. Lori Iro: Lori Iro’ is a Yoruba word that means ‘lies’, the slang went viral in Nigeria when a man dressed as a preacher exposed some of the vainest promises made by lovers.
  34. Werey Dey Disguise: This is another Yoruba pidgin street slang, ‘Werey’ in Yoruba means acting irrationally or crazy. In totality “werey dey disguise” means, the act of camouflaging or appearing or speaking out in contrast to what you really mean people can see right through their being fake.
  35. Doings: The slang is also used as an exclamation anytime an individual appears to live large or show-off wealth.
  36. Wa Ti Ma Gbo: Abbreviated as ‘WTMG’ is a coinage from Adekunle Gold’s hit song ‘High’ wherein he featured Davido. Wa Ti Ma Gbo is a Yoruba word that means, “You would have heard.‘’
  37. Something Hooge: Comedian Sabinus introduced this slang to the Nigerian street vocabulary due to the manner he says something huge, but with an emphasis on the ‘huge’ in the majority of his skits. It is used to express anticipation or an expectation.
  38. Zazu Zeh: Zazoo Zeh is the title of a song by Portable, a street guy who refers to himself as “Idamu Adugbo” (The streets trouble), featuring Poco Lee and Olamide. However, Zazu is originally a Hebrew name for a girl meaning movement.
  39. Dorime: “Dorime” is a slang word derived from the French new age musical project titled “Ameno” by Era. In Nigeria today, Dorime is used to describe extravagant spending.
  40. Sora Fun Obirin: Sora fun obirin comes from a video of a “preacher” as well. The video of the Akure evangelist went viral wherein he was seen preaching against indecent dressing in Church. In what seems like a vision seen to someone, he crossed to the side of the road and told a man in his car, “Sora fun obirin ooo. Olorun a wa pelu e” which means “Be careful of ladies. The Lord will be with you”. That slang became an anthem in the mouth of guys as a piece of advice to mostly those who admire women a lot or are casanovas.
  41. E Go Be: This is a statement usually used to express believe. It means something will certainly happen


If you find a slang missing, kindly share it via comment below as this post will be updated with new slangs regularly as there are a lot more. 


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